A rogues gallery of Andromeda's dwarf galaxies II. Precise Distances to 17 Faint Satellites

Daniel R. Weisz, Andrew E. Dolphin, Nicolas F. Martin, Saundra M. Albers, Michelle L. M. Collins, Annette M. N. Ferguson, Geraint F. Lewis, A. Dougal Mackey, Alan McConnachie, R. Michael Rich, Evan D. Skillman

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We present new horizontal branch (HB) distance measurements to 17 of the faintest known M31 satellites (−6 ≲ MV ≲ −13) based on deep Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging. The colour–magnitude diagrams extend ∼1–2 mag below the HB, which provides for well-defined HBs, even for faint galaxies in which the tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) is sparsely populated. We determine distances across the sample to an average precision of 4 per cent (∼30 kpc at 800 kpc). We find that the majority of these galaxies are in good agreement, though slightly farther (0.1–0.2 mag) when compared to recent ground-based TRGB distances. Two galaxies (And IX and And XVII) have discrepant HST and ground-based distances by ∼0.3 mag (∼150 kpc), which may be due to contamination from Milky Way foreground stars and/or M31 halo stars in sparsely populated TRGB regions. We use the new distances to update the luminosities and structural parameters for these 17 M31 satellites. The new distances do not substantially change the spatial configuration of the M31 satellite system. We comment on future prospects for precise and accurate HB distances for faint galaxies in the Local Group and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date22 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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