Systematically Measuring Ultradiffuse Galaxies in H i: Results from the Pilot Survey

Ananthan Karunakaran, Kristine Spekkens, Dennis Zaritsky, Richard L. Donnerstein, Jennifer Kadowaki, Arjun Dey

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22 Scopus citations


We present neutral hydrogen (H i) observations using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) of 70 optically detected UDG candidates in the Coma region from the Systematically Measuring Ultra-Diffuse Galaxies survey (SMUDGes). We detect H i in 18 targets, confirming nine to be gas-rich UDGs and the remainder to be foreground dwarfs. None of our H i-detected UDGs are Coma Cluster members and all but one are in low-density environments. The H i-detected UDGs are bluer and have more irregular morphologies than the redder, smoother candidates not detected in H i, with the combination of optical color and morphology being a better predictor of gas richness than either parameter alone. There is little visual difference between the gas-rich UDGs and the foreground dwarfs in the SMUDGes imaging, and distances are needed to distinguish between them. We find that the gas richnesses of our H i-confirmed UDGs and those from other samples scale with their effective radii in two stellar mass bins, possibly providing clues to their formation. We attempt to place our UDGs on the baryonic Tully-Fisher relation (BTFR) using optical ellipticities and turbulence-corrected H i line widths to estimate rotation velocities, but the potential systematics associated with fitting smooth Sérsic profiles to clumpy, low-inclination disks of low surface brightness precludes a meaningful analysis of potential BTFR offsets. These observations are a pilot for a large campaign now under way at the GBT to use the H i properties of gas-rich UDGs to quantitatively constrain how these galaxies form and evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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