The Properties of Faint Field Galaxies

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Session 95 -- Substructures of Galaxy Clusters, Field Galaxies
Oral presentation, Wednesday, 11, 1995, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

[95.04D] The Properties of Faint Field Galaxies

Simon. P. Driver (ASU)

One of the current drawbacks of Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) is their restrictive fields of view. The Hitchhiker CCD camera overcomes this limitation by operating in parallel with existing instrumentation and is able to cover a large area as well as large volumes. Hitchhiker is mounted on the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope and has been operating for two years.

The first use of the Hitchhiker data set has been to study the general properties of faint galaxies. The observed trend of how the differential numbers of galaxies vary with magnitude agrees extremely well with those of other groups and covers, for the first time, all four major optical bandpasses. This multi-band capability has also allowed the study of how the colors of galaxies change with magnitude and how the correlation of galaxies on the sky varies between the optical bandpasses.

A dwarf dominated model has been developed to explain these observations and challenges our knowledge of the space-density of dwarf galaxies. The model demonstrates that a simple upward turn in the luminosity distribution of galaxies, similar to that observed in clusters, would remain undetected by the field surveys yet can explain many of the observations without recourse to non-passive galaxy evolution. The conclusion is that the field luminosity distribution is not constrained at faint absolute magnitudes. A combination of a high density of dwarf galaxies and mild evolution could explain all the observations.






Continuing work with HST and the Medium Deep Survey Team now reveals the morphological mix of galaxies down to $m_{I} \sim 24.0$. The results confirm that ellipticals and early-type spirals are well fitted by standard no-evolution models whilst the late-type spirals can only be fitted by strong evolution and/or a significant turn-up in the local field LF.

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