Historical Perspectives on the Concept of Galaxy Size

Chamba, Nushkia
Bibliographical reference

Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society

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A brief narrative on how the effective radius and isophotal diameters were accepted as galaxy size measures is presented. Evidence suggests that these parameters were defined only based on observational premises, independent of any astrophysical theories. An alternative, new physically motivated size definition based on the expected gas density threshold required for star formation in galaxies is proposed. The intrinsic scatter of the size-stellar mass relation using the new size measure is 0.06 dex, three times smaller than that of the relation with the effective radius as size. The new physically motivated size measure can be adopted in upcoming deep, wide imaging surveys.