An enigmatic 380 kpc long linear collimated galactic tail

Dennis Zaritsky, Jacob P. Crossett, Yara L. Jaffé, Richard Donnerstein, Ananthan Karunakaran, Donghyeon J. Khim, Ana C.C. Lourenço, Kristine Spekkens, Ming Sun, Benedetta Vulcani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a serendipitously detected system consisting of an S0/a galaxy, which we refer to as the ‘Kite,’ and a highly collimated tail of gas and stars that extends over 380 kpc and contains pockets of star formation. In its length, narrowness, and linearity the Kite’s tail is an extreme example relative to known tails. The Kite (PGC 1000273) has a companion galaxy, Mrk 0926 (PGC 070409), which together comprise a binary galaxy system in which both galaxies host active galactic nuclei. Despite this systems being previously searched for signs of tidal interactions, the tail had not been discovered prior to our identification as part of the validation process of the SMUDGes survey for low surface brightness galaxies. We confirm the kinematic association between various H α knots along the tail, a small galaxy, and the Kite galaxy using optical spectroscopy obtained with the Magellan telescope and measure a velocity gradient along the tail. The Kite shares characteristics common to those formed via ram pressure stripping (‘jellyfish’ galaxies) and formed via tidal interactions. However, both scenarios face significant challenges that we discuss, leaving open the question of how such an extreme tail formed. We propose that the tail resulted from a three-body interaction from which the lowest mass galaxy was ejected at high velocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1437
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume524
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Keywords

  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • galaxies: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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