AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 28. Nearby Galaxies
Display, Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 10:00am-6:30pm, Empire Hall South

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[28.09] Are Compact High-Velocity Clouds The Missing Local Group Satellites?

E.K. Grebel (MPIA), R. Braun (NFRA), W.B. Burton (U Leiden)

In contrast to high-velocity cloud complexes, isolated compact high-velocity clouds (CHVCs) are plausibly at distances of 0.5 to 1 Mpc, show infall motion with respect to the Local Group barycenter, are rotationally supported and dark-matter dominated. Are CHVCs the missing Local Group satellites predicted by hierarchical clustering scenarios? Are they proto-galactic gas clouds or do they contain stars as well? A failure to detect stars would be a very interesting result in itself: the first discovery of pure HI/dark matter halos prior to star formation, i.e., the most basic of galaxy building blocks. A detection of stars will help to refine the HI distances, augment the faint end of the galaxy luminosity function, and open the way to the study of the stellar populations of a new, very dark type of dwarf galaxy.

We present results from a targeted multi-color survey for stars in radio-preselected CHVCs with the Mosaic imagers at NOAO. Our findings seem to indicate the detection of the red giant branch of an old stellar population, but contamination by distant starburst galaxies plays a role as well.

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