Some implications of the anisotropic distribution of satellite galaxies

Dennis Zaritsky, Anthony H. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We examine a possible connection between the anisotropic distribution of satellite galaxies around giant spiral galaxies and the evolution of satellite systems. The observed polar anisotropy either is imprinted by initial conditions or develops from an initially symmetric distribution. We attempt to discriminate between these two possibilities by exploring the implications of the latter one. From the observed distribution of satellite galaxies relative to the primary galaxy's disk, we derive constraints on the orbital inclinations of the current satellite population. Using this derived inclination limit and assuming that the initial population had no preferred orbital inclination, we estimate the size of the hypothesized original population. We find that our best-fit models imply a population of destroyed (or inhibited) satellites whose combined luminosity (assuming the same M/L as for the observed satellites) is between 18% and 103% of the current disk luminosity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1508-1514
Number of pages7
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number766
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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