NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0201

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0201


PI: Paul J. Howell, Boston University, phowell@bu.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

CoI: Tereasa G. Brainerd, Boston University

Title: Angular Momentum Correlation between Hosts and Satellites of Isolated SDSS Disk Galaxies

Abstract: We have started a project to determine the rotation senses of a set of approximately 600 relatively bright (R<=14) disk galaxies with satellites selected from the SDSS. To select only isolated hosts, we used standard proximity and luminosity criteria (see, e.g., Brainerd 2005). We will determine the prograde fraction and velocity distribution of the satellites with respect to the disks of their host galaxies. Such observational knowledge is presently limited, but intriguing, including a recent claim of separable retrograde/prograde populations mildly favoring prograde. This project will increase the inventory of observed isolated host galaxies by roughly five-fold, answering with robust statistics the question of prograde fraction and velocity distribution, and whether or not the accretion of prograde satellites can solve one of the major outstanding questions of Cold Dark Matter: the origin of angular momentum in disk galaxies. We will also be able to determine for the first time whether there is any dependence satellite prograde fraction on projected radius, host luminosity, or star formation history.


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