Tracing satellite planes in the Sculptor group. I. Discovery of three faint dwarf galaxies around NGC 253

Martínez-Delgado, David; Makarov, Dmitry; Javanmardi, Behnam; Pawlowski, Marcel S.; Makarova, Lidia; Donatiello, Giuseppe; Lang, Dustin; Román, Javier; Vivas, Kathy; Carballo-Bello, Julio A.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

Fecha de publicación:
Context. In recent years, a new generation of large-scale imaging surveys have probed wide field regions for the first time around some nearby galaxies in an unprecedentedly low surface-brightness regime (∼28.0−29.0 mag arcsec−2). This provides the chance to discover very faint dwarf satellites by means of systematic visual inspection of these public deep images.
Aims: In this paper, we report the first results of a systematic survey of faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies in the vicinity of the bright late-type spiral galaxy NGC 253 by means of a visual inspection of the images taken by the Dark Energy Survey.
Methods: We performed a new NGC 253 satellite search using co-added image cutouts reprocessed in the DESI Legacy image surveys. We used GALFIT software to investigate the photometric and structural properties of three dwarf galaxies.
Results: We report the discovery of three new dwarf galaxies in the vicinity of the brightest member of the Sculptor filament, the late-type spiral NGC 253, located at a distance of 3.7 Mpc towards Anti-Virgo. We name them Do II, Do III, and Do IV. Assuming they are companions of NGC 253, their total absolute V-magnitudes fall in the −7 to −9 mag range, which is typical for dwarf satellites in the local Universe. The central surface brightness tends to be extremely low for all three discovered dwarfs and falls roughly in the range of 25−26 mag arcsec−2 in g-band. Using known data on distances and velocities of galaxies, we estimate the total virial mass of the NGC 253 group to be 8 × 1011 M⊙, which gives a virial radius of R200 = 186 kpc and a turn-around radius of 706 kpc. We also discuss the possible existence of a spatially flattened and velocity-correlated satellite system around NGC 253. This large-scale structure is orientated almost edge-on to the line of sight. The possible plane of satellites is only 31 kpc thick with a minor-to-major axis ratio of 0.14. Four out of five galaxies with measured velocities follow a common velocity trend similar to those observed in the planes of satellites around the Andromeda and Centaurus A galaxies. However, the small number of galaxies with known velocities prevents us from reaching a definitive conclusion about the formation scenario of the structure and its possible relation to the surrounding cosmic web.
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