NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2005A-0203

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Proposal Information for 2005A-0203


PI: John Feldmeier, National Optical Astronomical Observatory, johnf@noao.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726, USA

CoI: Chris Mihos, Case Western Reserve University
CoI: Heather Morrison, Case Western Reserve University
CoI: Paul Harding, Case Western Reserve University

Title: Testing dwarf galaxy formation models using compact groups

Abstract: We propose deep imaging of Hickson compact groups to test theories of dwarf galaxy formation in tidal debris. While observations of ongoing interactions such as the Antennae have revealed the presence of star-forming knots in their tidal tails, whether or not these structures can survive and become bona-fide dwarf galaxies is less clear. To address this uncertainty, we plan to correlate the dwarf galaxy content of compact groups with a long-lived tracer of past interaction history: the diffuse intragroup light formed during interactions and mergers within the group. Since this faint intragroup light is the evolved counterpart of the bright tidal features in which tidal dwarfs are proposed to form, dwarf-rich groups should possess significantly more intragroup light than dwarf-poor groups if the tidal dwarf formation model is correct. In contrast, if the group environment preferentially \it destroys dwarf galaxies via tidal disruption, we expect an anticorrelation between dwarf content and intragroup light. We are requesting 7 dark nights on the 2.1m to study the intragroup light down to (mu)_V=27.0 mag/sq arcsec in five compact groups which span a range of dwarf content.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2005A-0203

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