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[en] We present a sample of 17 newly discovered ultracool dwarf candidates later than ∼M8, drawn from 231.90 arcmin2 of Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 infrared imaging. By comparing the observed number counts for 17.5 ≤ J125 ≤ 25.5 AB mag to an exponential disk model, we estimate a vertical scale height of zscl = 290 ± 25 (random) ± 31 (systematic) pc for a binarity fraction of fb = 0. While our estimate is roughly consistent with published results, we suggest that the differences can be attributed to sample properties, with the present sample containing far more substellar objects than previous work. We predict the object counts should peak at J125 ∼ 24 AB mag due to the exponentially declining number density at the edge of the disk. We conclude by arguing that trend in scale height with spectral type may breakdown for brown dwarfs since they do not settle onto the main sequence.
[en] Deep ACS slitless grism observations and identification of stellar sources are presented within the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey North and South fields which were obtained in the Probing Evolution And Reionization Spectroscopically (PEARS) program. It is demonstrated that even low-resolution spectra can be a very powerful means of identifying stars in the field, especially low-mass stars with stellar types M0 and later. The PEARS fields lay within the larger GOODS fields, and we used new, deeper images to further refine the selection of stars in the PEARS field, down to a magnitude of z 850 = 25 using a newly developed stellarity parameter. The total number of stars with reliable spectroscopic and morphological identification was 95 and 108 in the north and south fields, respectively. The sample of spectroscopically identified stars allows constraints to be set on the thickness of the Galactic thin disk as well as contributions from a thick disk and a halo component. We derive a thin disk scale height, as traced by the population of M4-M9 dwarfs along two independent lines of sight, of h thin = 370+60-65 pc. When including the more massive M0-M4 dwarf population, we derive h thin = 300 ± 70 pc. In both cases, we observe that we must include a combination of thick and halo components in our models in order to account for the observed numbers of faint dwarfs. The required thick disk scale height is typically h thick = 1000 pc and the acceptable relative stellar densities of the thin disk to thick disk and the thin disk to halo components are in the range of 0.00025 < f halo < 0.0005 and 0.05 < f thick < 0.08 and are somewhat dependent on whether the more massive M0-M4 dwarfs are included in our sample.
[en] We present an analysis of the properties of H I holes detected in 20 galaxies that are part of 'The H I Nearby Galaxy Survey'. We detected more than 1000 holes in total in the sampled galaxies. Where they can be measured, their sizes range from about 100 pc (our resolution limit) to about 2 kpc, their expansion velocities range from 4 to 36 km s-1, and their ages are estimated to range between 3 and 150 Myr. The holes are found throughout the disks of the galaxies, out to the edge of the H I disk; 23% of the holes fall outside R25. We find that shear limits the age of holes in spirals (shear is less important in dwarf galaxies) which explains why H I holes in dwarfs are rounder, on average than in spirals. Shear, which is particularly strong in the inner part of spiral galaxies, also explains why we find that holes outside R25 are larger and older. We derive the scale height of the H I disk as a function of galactocentric radius and find that the disk flares up in all galaxies. We proceed to derive the surface and volume porosity (Q2D and Q3D) and find that this correlates with the type of the host galaxy: later Hubble types tend to be more porous. The size distribution of the holes in our sample follows a power law with a slope of aν ∼ -2.9. Assuming that the holes are the result of massive star formation (SF), we derive values for the supernova rate and star formation rate (SFR) which scales with the SFR derived based on other tracers. If we extrapolate the observed number of holes to include those that fall below our resolution limit, down to holes created by a single supernova, we find that our results are compatible with the hypothesis that H I holes result from SF.
[en] We present results of an analysis of the J, H, and Ks Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) images of 139 spiral edge-on galaxies selected from the Revised Flat Galaxies Catalog. The basic structural parameters scale length (h), scale height (z 0), and central surface brightness of the stellar disks (μ0) are determined for all selected galaxies in the near-infrared (NIR) bands. The mean relative ratios of the scale heights of the thin stellar disks in the J:H:Ks bands are 1.16:1.08:1.00, respectively. Comparing the scale heights obtained from the NIR bands for the same objects, we estimate the scale heights of the thin stellar disks corrected for the internal extinction. We find that the extinction-corrected scale height is, on average, 11% smaller than that in the K band. Using the extinction-corrected structural parameters, we find that the dark-to-luminous mass ratio is, on average, 1.3 for the galaxies in our sample within the framework of a simplified galactic model. The relative thicknesses of the stellar disks z 0/h correlates with their face-on central surface brightnesses obtained from the 2MASS images. We also find that the scale height of the stellar disks shows no systematic growth with radius in most of our galaxies.
[en] We use the recent measurement of the velocity dispersion of star-forming, outer-disk knots by Herbert-Fort et al. in the nearly face-on galaxy NGC 628, in combination with other data from the literature, to execute a straightforward test of gravity at low accelerations. Specifically, the rotation curve at large radius sets the degree of non-standard acceleration and then the predicted scale height of the knots at that radius provides the test of the scenario. For our demonstration, we presume that the Hα knots, which are young (age < 10 Myr), are distributed like the gas from which they have recently formed and find a marginal (>97% confidence) discrepancy with a modified gravity scenario given the current data. More interestingly, we demonstrate that there is no inherent limitation that prevents such a test from reaching possible discrimination at the >4σ level with a reasonable investment of observational resources.
[en] On the basis of a recently derived color-metallicity relation and stellar parameters from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 spectroscopic survey, a large sample of red horizontal-branch (RHB) candidates have been selected to serve as standard candles. The metallicity and kinematic distributions of these stars indicate that they mainly originate from the thick-disk and the halo populations. The typical thick disk is characterized by the first group peaking at [Fe/H] ∼ -0.6, Vrot ∼ 170 km s-1 with a vertical scale height around |Z| ∼ 1.2 kpc, while stars with [Fe/H] < -0.9 are dominated by the halo population. Two sub-populations of the halo are suggested by the RHB stars peaking at [Fe/H] ∼ -1.3: one component with Vrot > 0 km s-1 (Halo I) shows a sign of metallicity gradient in the [Fe/H] versus |Z| diagram, while the other with Vrot < 0 km s-1 (Halo II) does not. The Halo I mainly clumps at the inner halo with R < 10 kpc and the Halo II comes both from the inner halo with R < 10 kpc and the outer halo with R > 10 kpc based on the star distribution in the R versus |Z| diagram.
[en] NGC 4013 is a distinctly warped galaxy with evidence of disk–halo activity. Through deep H i observations and modeling we confirm that the H i disk is thin (central exponential scale height with an upper limit of 4″ or 280 pc), but flaring. We detect a vertical gradient in rotation velocity (lag), which shallows radially from a value of −35 km s−1 kpc−1 at 1.′4 (5.8 kpc), to a value of zero near R25 (11.2 kpc). Over much of this radial range, the lag is relatively steep. Both the steepness and the radial shallowing are consistent with recent determinations for a number of edge-ons, which have been difficult to explain. We briefly consider the lag measured in NGC 4013 in the context of this larger sample and theoretical models, further illuminating disk–halo flows.
[en] We use spectra of more than 56,000 M dwarfs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to create a high-latitude extinction map of the local Galaxy. Our technique compares spectra from the stars in the SDSS Data Release 7 M dwarf sample in low-extinction lines of sight, as determined by Schlegel et al., to other SDSS M dwarf spectra in order to derive improved distance estimates and accurate line-of-sight extinctions. Unlike most previous studies, which have used a two-color method to determine extinction, we fit extinction curves to fluxes across the spectral range from 5700 to 9200 A for every star in our sample. Our result is an AV map that extends from a few tens of pc to approximately 2 kpc away from the Sun. We also use a similar technique to create a map of RV values within approximately 1 kpc of the Sun and find that they are consistent with the widely accepted diffuse interstellar medium value of 3.1. Using our extinction data, we derive a dust scale height for the local Galaxy of 119 ± 15 pc and find evidence for a local dust cavity.
[en] We estimated the dynamical surface mass density (Σ) at the solar Galactocentric distance between 2 and 4 kpc from the Galactic plane, as inferred from the observed kinematics of the thick disk. We find Σ(z = 2 kpc) = 57.6 ± 5.8 M sun pc-2, and it shows only a tiny increase in the z range considered by our investigation. We compared our results with the expectations for the visible mass, adopting the most recent estimates in the literature for contributions of the Galactic stellar disk and interstellar medium, and proposed models of the dark matter distribution. Our results match the expectation for the visible mass alone, never differing from it by more than 0.8 M sun pc-2 at any z, and thus we find little evidence for any dark component. We assume that the dark halo could be undetectable with our method, but the dark disk, recently proposed as a natural expectation of the ΛCDM models, should be detected. Given the good agreement with the visible mass alone, models including a dark disk are less likely, but within errors its existence cannot be excluded. In any case, these results put constraints on its properties: thinner models (scale height lower than 4 kpc) reconcile better with our results and, for any scale height, the lower-density models are preferred. We believe that successfully predicting the stellar thick disk properties and a dark disk in agreement with our observations could be a challenging theoretical task.
[en] The Ks -band differential star count of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) is used to derive the global structure parameters of the smooth components of the Milky Way. To avoid complication introduced by other fine structures and significant extinction near and at the Galactic plane, we only consider Galactic latitude |b| > 300 data. The star count data are fitted with a three-component model: double exponential thin disk and thick disk, and a power-law decay oblate halo. Using maximum likelihood, the best-fit local density of the thin disk is n0 = 0.030 ± 0.002 stars pc-3. The best-fit scale height and length of the thin disk are Hz1 = 360 ± 10 pc and Hr1 = 3.7 ± 1.0 kpc, and those of the thick disk are Hz2 = 1020 ± 30 pc and Hr2 = 5.0 ± 1.0 kpc, the local thick-to-thin disk density ratio is f2 = 7% ± 1%. The best-fit axis ratio, power-law index, and local density ratio of the oblate halo are κ = 0.55 ± 0.15, p = 2.6 ± 0.6, and fh = 0.20% ± 0.10%, respectively. Moreover, we find some degeneracy among the key parameters (e.g., n0, Hz1, f2, and Hz2). Any pair of these parameters are anti-correlated to each other. The 2MASS data can be well fitted by several possible combinations of these parameters. This is probably the reason why there is a wide range of values for the structure parameters in literature similar to this study. Since only medium and high Galactic latitude data are analyzed, the fitting is insensitive to the scale lengths of the disks.