Astrophysical Journal Letters
We present new upper limits on the neutral hydrogen (H i) content within the stellar half-light ellipses of 15 Galactic dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs), derived from pointed observations with the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) as well as Arecibo L-band Fast ALFA survey and Galactic All-Sky Survey data. All of the limits are more stringent than previously reported values, and those from the GBT improve upon constraints in the literature by a median factor of 23. Normalizing by V-band luminosity LV and dynamical mass Mdyn, we find and , irrespective of location in the Galactic halo. Comparing these relative H i contents to those of the Local Group and nearby neighbor dwarfs compiled by McConnachie, we find that the Galactic dSphs are extremely gas-poor. Our H i upper limits therefore provide the clearest picture yet of the environmental dependence of the H i content in Local Volume dwarfs. If ram pressure stripping explains the dearth of H i in these systems, then orbits in a relatively massive Milky Way are favored for the outer halo dSph Leo I, while Leo II and Canes Venatici I have had a pericentric passage in the past. For Draco and Ursa Minor, the interstellar medium mass that should accumulate through stellar mass loss in between pericentric passages exceeds by a factor of ~30. In Ursa Minor, this implies that either this material is not in the atomic phase, or that another mechanism clears the recycled gas on shorter timescales.
Faculty Start Year
Spekkens, K.; Urbancic, N.; Mason, B. S.; Willman, B.; Aguirre, J. E. "The Dearth of Neutral Hydrogen in Galactic Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies." Astrophysical Journal Letters 795 (1): Article L5. 2014.