The survey of H i in extremely low-mass dwarfs (SHIELD)

John M. Cannon, Riccardo Giovanelli, Martha P. Haynes, Steven Janowiecki, Angela Parker, John J. Salzer, Elizabeth A K Adams, Eric Engstrom, Shan Huang, Kristen B W McQuinn, Jürgen Ott, Amélie Saintonge, Evan D. Skillman, John Allan, Grace Erny, Palmer Fliss, Annaleigh Smith

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    67 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    We present first results from the Survey of H I in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs (SHIELD), a multi-configuration Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) study of the neutral gas contents and dynamics of galaxies with H I masses in the 106-107 M range detected by the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey. We describe the survey motivation and concept demonstration using Very Large Array imaging of six low-mass galaxies detected in early ALFALFA data products. We then describe the primary scientific goals of SHIELD and present preliminary EVLA and WIYN 3.5 m imaging of the 12 SHIELD galaxies. With only a few exceptions, the neutral gas distributions of these extremely low-mass galaxies are centrally concentrated. In only one system have we detected H I column densities higher than 1021cm-2. Despite this, the stellar populations of all of these systems are dominated by blue stars. Further, we find ongoing star formation as traced by Hα emission in 10 of the 11 galaxies with Hα imaging obtained to date. Taken together these results suggest that extremely low-mass galaxies are forming stars in conditions different from those found in more massive systems. While detailed dynamical analysis requires the completion of data acquisition, the most well-resolved system is amenable to meaningful position-velocity analysis. For AGC 749237, we find well-ordered rotation of 30kms-1 at 40″ distance from the dynamical center. At the adopted distance of 3.2 Mpc, this implies the presence of a ≳1 × 108 M dark matter halo and a baryon fraction ≲0.1.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberL22
    JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
    Volume739
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 20 2011

    Keywords

    • galaxies: dwarf
    • galaxies: evolution
    • galaxies: irregular

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