Shadows in the Dark: Low-surface-brightness Galaxies Discovered in the Dark Energy Survey

Tanoglidis, D.; Drlica-Wagner, A.; Wei, K.; Li, T. S.; Sánchez, J.; Zhang, Y.; Peter, A. H. G.; Feldmeier-Krause, A.; Prat, J.; Casey, K. et al.
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The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series

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We present a catalog of 23,790 extended low-surface-brightness galaxies (LSBGs) identified in $\sim 5000\,{\deg }^{2}$ from the first three years of imaging data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Based on a single-component Sérsic model fit, we define extended LSBGs as galaxies with g-band effective radii ${R}_{\mathrm{eff}}(g)\gt 2\buildrel{\prime\prime}\over{.} 5$ and mean surface brightness ${\bar{\mu }}_{\mathrm{eff}}(g)\gt 24.2\,\mathrm{mag}\,{\mathrm{arcsec}}^{-2}$ . We find that the distribution of LSBGs is strongly bimodal in (g - r) versus (g - i) color space. We divide our sample into red (g - i ≥ 0.60) and blue (g - i < 0.60) galaxies and study the properties of the two populations. Redder LSBGs are more clustered than their blue counterparts and are correlated with the distribution of nearby (z < 0.10) bright galaxies. Red LSBGs constitute ∼33% of our LSBG sample, and $\sim 30 \% $ of these are located within 1° of low-redshift galaxy groups and clusters (compared to ∼8% of the blue LSBGs). For nine of the most prominent galaxy groups and clusters, we calculate the physical properties of associated LSBGs assuming a redshift derived from the host system. In these systems, we identify 41 objects that can be classified as ultradiffuse galaxies, defined as LSBGs with projected physical effective radii ${R}_{\mathrm{eff}}\gt 1.5\,\mathrm{kpc}$ and central surface brightness ${\mu }_{0}(g)\gt 24.0\,\mathrm{mag}\,{\mathrm{arcsec}}^{-2}$ . The wide-area sample of LSBGs in DES can be used to test the role of environment on models of LSBG formation and evolution.