Star Formation and Tidal Encounters with the Low Surface Brightness Galaxy UGC 12695 and Companions

Authors: Karen O'Neil, M.A.W. Verheijen, & S.S. McGaugh

Published:The Astronomical Journal, Vol 119, pg 2194 (2000).


We present VLA H I observations of the low surface brightness galaxy UGC 12695 and its two companions, UGC 12687 and a newly discovered dwarf galaxy 2333+1234. UGC 12695 shows solid body rotation but has a very lopsided morphology of the H I disk, with the majority of the H I lying in the southern arm of the galaxy. The H I column density distribution of this very blue, LSB galaxy coincides in detail with its light distribution. Comparing the H I column density of UGC 12695 with the empirical (but not well understood) value of Sigmac = 1021 atoms cm-2 found in, i.e., Skillman's 1986 paper shows the star formation to be a local affair, occurring only in those regions where the column density is above this star formation threshold. The low surface brightness nature of this galaxy could thus be attributed to an insufficient gas surface density, inhibiting star formation on a more global scale. Significantly, though, the Toomre criterion places a much lower critical density on the galaxy (~1020 atoms cm-2), which is shown by the galaxy's low SFR to not be applicable.

Within a projected distance of 300 kpc/30 km s-1 of UGC 12695 lie two companion galaxies -- UGC 12687, a high surface brightness barred spiral galaxy, and 2333+1234, a dwarf galaxy discovered during this investigation. The close proximity of the three galaxies, combined with UGC 12695's extremely blue color and regions of localized starburst and UGC 12687's UV excess bring to mind mutually induced star formation through tidal activity.

Postscript version of paper