AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 7. Spirals and Ellipticals
Display, Monday, May 31, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[7.11] Serendipitous 2MASS Discoveries in the Galactic Plane: A Galaxy and a Globular Cluster

R.L. Hurt, T. Jarrett, R. Cutri (IPAC/Caltech), M. Skrutskie, S. Schneider (UMASS), W. Van Driel (Nancay)

One of the significant contributions of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) will be its complete coverage of the Galactic Plane at near infrared wavelengths. The plentiful dust found throughout this region obscures both Galactic and extragalactic sources. Since the extinction at Ks band is about 1/10th that of V band, near infrared imaging is an efficient way to identify objects that are obscured by dust clouds. 2MASS will provide the first views in three near infrared bands (J, H, & Ks) of entire populations of sources--ranging from galaxies in the Zone of Avoidance to stars and clusters in the Milky Way--across a significant fraction of the sky.

We present two recent serendipitous discoveries from the 2MASS survey: a large spiral galaxy and a globular cluster candidate. Both of these objects were identified during routine inspections of 2MASS image coadds during data validation and quality assurance procedures.

The new 2MASS galaxy is found in the plane about 130 degrees away from the Galactic Center at b=-1.9 deg where the visual extinction (estimated from HI maps) is about 4 mags. The DSS2 plate of this region shows only a hint of the galaxy's nucleus. The full extent of the galaxy at Ks band is just over 5 arcmin, which probably corresponds to an unextincted optical diameter of 8 arcmin or more; had it been a higher Galactic latitude it could well have been a Messier object! Its overall low surface brightness and low disk/nucleus contrast suggests a Hubble type of Scd-Sdm. An HI single-dish spectrum from Nancay confirms it is a spiral galaxy at a Vlsr of 750 km/s.

The candidate globular cluster lies at low galactic latitude just 10 degrees away from the Galactic Center at b=0.1 deg. Absent even at J band it only becomes visible at H and Ks. Approximately 1 arcmin in diameter, this would be the 148th known globular in the Milky Way.

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