A search for low surface brightness dwarf galaxies in different environments

Authors: S. Roberts, J. Davies, S. Sabatini, W. van Driel, K. O'Neil, M. Baes, S. Linder, R. Smith, R. Evans

Published: 2004 MNRAS 352, 478


According to the Cold Dark Matter (CDM) hierarchical clustering theory of galaxy and large scale structure formation, there should be numerous low mass dark matter haloes present in the Universe today. If these haloes contain sufficient stars they should be detectable as low luminosity stellar systems or dwarf galaxies. We have previously described a new detection method for faint low surface brightness objects and shown that there are relatively large numbers of very faint dwarf galaxies in the nearby Virgo cluster. In this paper we present results from a similar survey carried out on the Millennium Galaxy strip which runs along the celestial equator and samples a very different galaxy environment. We show that the dwarf-to-giant galaxy number ratio along this strip ranges from 0.7:1 to, at most, 6:1, corresponding to a flat luminosity function (alpha approx -0.8 to -1.0). This is very different to our value of 20:1 for the Virgo cluster. There is no population of low surface brightness dwarf galaxies in the field that have gone undetected by the redshift surveys. This result is exactly opposite to what CDM models predict for the environmental dependence of the dark matter mass function which is that there are proportionally more small dark matter haloes in lower density environments.

Paper (gzipped postscript, with figures - 477 kb)