Distance determinations to SHIELD galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope imaging

Kristen B.W. McQuinn, John M. Cannon, Andrew E. Dolphin, Evan D. Skillman, John J. Salzer, Martha P. Haynes, Elizabeth Adams, Ian Cave, Ed C. Elson, Riccardo Giovanelli, Juërgen Ott, Amélie Saintonge

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35 Scopus citations


The Survey of H I in Extremely Low-mass Dwarf (SHIELD) galaxies is an ongoing multi-wavelength program to characterize the gas, star formation, and evolution in gas-rich, very low-mass galaxies. The galaxies were selected from the first 10% of the H I Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey based on their inferred low H I mass and low baryonic mass, and all systems have recent star formation. Thus, the SHIELD sample probes the faint end of the galaxy luminosity function for star-forming galaxies. Here, we measure the distances to the 12 SHIELD galaxies to be between 5 and 12 Mpc by applying the tip of the red giant method to the resolved stellar populations imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Based on these distances, the H I masses in the sample range from 4 × 106 to 6 × 107 M , with a median H I mass of 1 × 107 M . The tip of the red giant branch distances are up to 73% farther than flow-model estimates in the ALFALFA catalog. Because of the relatively large uncertainties of flow-model distances, we are biased toward selecting galaxies from the ALFALFA catalog where the flow model underestimates the true distances. The measured distances allow for an assessment of the native environments around the sample members. Five of the galaxies are part of the NGC 672 and NGC 784 groups, which together constitute a single structure. One galaxy is part of a larger linear ensemble of nine systems that stretches 1.6 Mpc from end to end. Three galaxies reside in regions with 1-9 neighbors, and four galaxies are truly isolated with no known system identified within a radius of 1 Mpc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2014


  • Hertzsprung-Russell and C-M diagrams
  • galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • galaxies: dwarf


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