The Intrinsic Shapes of Low-Surface-Brightness Dwarf Irregular Galaxies and Comparison to Other Types of Dwarf Galaxies

Research paper by Eon-Chang Sung, Cheongho Han, Barbara, S. Ryden, Richard, J. Patterson, Moon-Suk Chun, Ho-Il Kim, Woo-Baik Lee, Dong-Jin, Kim

Indexed on: 03 Mar '98Published on: 03 Mar '98Published in: Astrophysics


In this paper, we measure the ellipticities of 30 LSB dI galaxies and compare the ellipticity distribution with that of 80 dEs (Ryden & Terndrup 1994; Ryden et al. 1998) and 62 BCDs (Sung et al. 1998). We find that the ellipticity distribution of LSB dIs is very similar to that of BCDs, and marginally different from that of dEs. We then determine the distribution of intrinsic shapes of dI galaxies and compare to those of other type dwarf galaxies under various assumptions. First, we assume that LSB dIs are either all oblate or all prolate, and use non-parametric analysis to find the best-fitting distribution of intrinsic shapes. With this assumption, we find that the scarcity of nearly circular LSB dIs implies, at the 99% confidence level, that they cannot be a population of randomly oriented oblate or prolate objects. Next, we assume that dIs are triaxial, and use parametric analysis to find permissible distributions of intrinsic shapes. We find that if the intrinsic axis ratios, $\beta$ and $\gamma$, are distributed according to a Gaussian with means $\beta_0$ and $\gamma_0$ and a common standard deviation of $\sigma$, the best-fitting set of parameters for LSB dIs is $(\beta_0,\gamma_0,\sigma) = (0.66,0.50,0.15)$, and the best fit for BCDs is $(\beta_0,\gamma_0,\sigma) = (0.66,0.55,0.16)$, while the best fit for dEs is $(\beta_0,\gamma_0,\sigma) = (0.78,0.69,0.24)$. The dIs and BCDs thus have a very similar shape distribution, given this triaxial hypothesis, while the dEs peak at a somewhat more spherical shape. Our results are consistent with an evolutionary scenario in which the three types of dwarf galaxy have a close relation with each other.