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Title: MEASURING SIZES OF ULTRA-FAINT DWARF GALAXIES

Abstract

The discovery of ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxies in the halo of the Milky Way extends the faint end of the galaxy luminosity function to a few hundred solar luminosities. This extremely low luminosity regime poses a significant challenge for the photometric characterization of these systems. We present a suite of simulations aimed at understanding how different observational choices related to the properties of a low-luminosity system impact our ability to determine its true structural parameters such as half-light radius and central surface brightness. We focus on estimating half-light radii (on which mass estimates depend linearly) and find that these numbers can have up to 100% uncertainties when relatively shallow photometric surveys, such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, are used. Our simulations suggest that to recover structural parameters within 10% or better of their true values: (1) the ratio of the field of view to the half-light radius of the satellite must be greater than three, (2) the total number of stars, including background objects should be larger than 1000, and (3) the central to background stellar density ratio must be higher than 20. If one or more of these criteria are not met, the accuracy of the resulting structuralmore » parameters can be significantly compromised. In the context of future surveys such as Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the latter condition will be closely tied to our ability to remove unresolved background galaxies. Assessing the reliability of measured structural parameters will become increasingly critical as the next generation of deep wide-field surveys detects UFDs beyond the reach of current spectroscopic limits.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ;  [2]
  1. Departamento de Astronomia, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 36-D, Santiago (Chile)
  2. Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22011911
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 745; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; BRIGHTNESS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; LUMINOSITY; MASS; MILKY WAY; PHOTOMETRY; STARS; TELESCOPES

Citation Formats

Munoz, Ricardo R, Padmanabhan, Nikhil, and Geha, Marla. MEASURING SIZES OF ULTRA-FAINT DWARF GALAXIES. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/127.
Munoz, Ricardo R, Padmanabhan, Nikhil, & Geha, Marla. MEASURING SIZES OF ULTRA-FAINT DWARF GALAXIES. United States. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/127
Munoz, Ricardo R, Padmanabhan, Nikhil, and Geha, Marla. 2012. "MEASURING SIZES OF ULTRA-FAINT DWARF GALAXIES". United States. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/127.
@article{osti_22011911,
title = {MEASURING SIZES OF ULTRA-FAINT DWARF GALAXIES},
author = {Munoz, Ricardo R and Padmanabhan, Nikhil and Geha, Marla},
abstractNote = {The discovery of ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxies in the halo of the Milky Way extends the faint end of the galaxy luminosity function to a few hundred solar luminosities. This extremely low luminosity regime poses a significant challenge for the photometric characterization of these systems. We present a suite of simulations aimed at understanding how different observational choices related to the properties of a low-luminosity system impact our ability to determine its true structural parameters such as half-light radius and central surface brightness. We focus on estimating half-light radii (on which mass estimates depend linearly) and find that these numbers can have up to 100% uncertainties when relatively shallow photometric surveys, such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, are used. Our simulations suggest that to recover structural parameters within 10% or better of their true values: (1) the ratio of the field of view to the half-light radius of the satellite must be greater than three, (2) the total number of stars, including background objects should be larger than 1000, and (3) the central to background stellar density ratio must be higher than 20. If one or more of these criteria are not met, the accuracy of the resulting structural parameters can be significantly compromised. In the context of future surveys such as Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the latter condition will be closely tied to our ability to remove unresolved background galaxies. Assessing the reliability of measured structural parameters will become increasingly critical as the next generation of deep wide-field surveys detects UFDs beyond the reach of current spectroscopic limits.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/127},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/22011911}, journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 2,
volume = 745,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {2}
}