The small scale environment of low surface brightness disk galaxies

Gregory D. Bothun, James M. Schombert, Christopher D. Impey, David Sprayberry, Stacy S. Mcgaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


We use a sample of ≈340 low surface brightness (LSB) disk galaxies with measured redshifts in combination with the Center for Astrophysics redshift survey to test the hypothesis that LSB galaxies have a deficit of nearby companion galaxies compared to high surface brightness (HSB) disk galaxies. We find a very strong statistical deficit of galaxies located within a projected radius of 0.5 Mpc and within a velocity of 500 km s-1 around LSB disk galaxies compared to HSB ones. Further, comparing LSB and HSB disk galaxies which are located in the same portion of the sky indicates that the average distance to the nearest neighbor is 1.7 times farther for LSB disk galaxies. A Komologorov-Smirnoff test rules out, at greater than the 99% confidence level, the hypothesis that the distribution of nearest-neighbor distances is the same for HSB and LSB disk galaxies. We speculate that LSB disk galaxies have relatively long formation time scales and therefore must form in relative isolation. In addition, the lack of tidal interactions over a Hubble time serves to suppress the overall star-formation rate as no external trigger is available to help clump the gas. The observed low surface densities of H I in combination with the low probability of tidal interactions effectively prevents these disk galaxies from evolving very rapidly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-547
Number of pages18
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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