A GALEX ultraviolet imaging survey of galaxies in the Local Volume

Janice C. Lee, Armando Gil De Paz, Robert C. Kennicutt, Matthew Bothwell, Julianne Dalcanton, G. José, S. J. Funes, Benjamin D. Johnson, Shoko Sakai, Evan Skillman, Christy Tremonti, Liese Van Zee

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62 Scopus citations


We present results from a GALEX ultraviolet (UV) survey of a complete sample of 390 galaxies within (∼11 Mpc of the Milky Way. The UV data are a key component of the composite Local Volume Legacy, an ultraviolet-toinfrared imaging program designed to provide an inventory of dust and star formation in nearby spiral and irregular galaxies. The ensemble data set is an especially valuable resource for studying star formation in dwarf galaxies, which comprise over 80% of the sample. We describe the GALEX survey programs that obtained the data and provide a catalog of far-UV (∼1500 Å) and near-UV (∼2200 Å) integrated photometry. General UV properties of the sample are briefly discussed. We compute two measures of the global star formation efficiency, the star formation rate (SFR) per unit H I gas mass, and the SFR per unit stellar mass, to illustrate the significant differences that can arise in our understanding of dwarf galaxies when the FUV is used to measure the SFR instead of Hα. We find that dwarf galaxies may not be as drastically inefficient in converting gas into stars as suggested by prior Hα studies. In this context, we also examine the UV properties of late-type dwarf galaxies that appear to be devoid of star formation because they were not detected in previous Hα narrowband observations. Nearly all such galaxies in our sample are detected in the FUV and have FUV SFRs that fall below the limit where the Hα flux is robust to Poisson fluctuations in the formation of massive stars. Otherwise, the UV colors and star formation efficiencies of Hα-undetected, UV-bright dwarf irregulars appear to be relatively unremarkable with respect to those exhibited by the general population of star-forming galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Catalogs
  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Stars: formation
  • Surveys
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies


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