Properties of an H I-selected galaxy sample

Szomoru, Arpad; Guhathakurta, Puragra; van Gorkom, Jacqueline H.; Knapen, Johan H.; Weinberg, David H.; Fruchter, Andrew S.
Bibliographical reference

The Astronomical Journal, vol. 108, no. 2, p. 491-506

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We analyze the properties of a sample of galaxies identified in a 21cm, H I-line survey of selected areas in the Perseus-Pisces supercluster and its foreground void. Twelve fields were observed in the supercluster, five of them (target fields) centered on optically bright galaxies, and the other seven (blank fields) selected to contain no bright galaxies within 45 min. of their centers. We detected nine previously uncatalogued, gas-rich galaxies, six of them in the target fields. We also detected H I from seven previously catalogued galaxies in these fields. Observations in the void covered the same volume as the 12 supercluster fields at the same H I-mass sensitivity, but no objects were detected. Combining out H I data with optical broadband and H alpha imaging, we conclude that the properties of H I-selected galaxies do not differ substantially from those of late-type galaxies found in optical surveys. In particular, the galaxies in our sample do not appear to be unusually faint for their H I mass, or for their circular velocity. We find tentative evidence for a connection between optical surface brightness and degree of isolation, in the sense that low surface brightness galaxies tend to be more isolated. The previously catalogued, optically bright galaxies in our survey volume dominate the total H I mass density and cross section; the uncatalogued galaxies contribute only approximately 19 percent of the mass and approximately 12 percent of the cross section. Thus, existing estimates of the density and cross section of neutral hydrogen, most of which are based on optically selected galaxy samples, are probably accurate. Such estimates can be used to compare the nearby universe to the high-redshift universe probed by quasar absorption lines.