Document Type

Journal Article



Standard Number


Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal Letters





Publication Date



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.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.