Surface brightness profiles of dwarf galaxies. I. Profiles and statistics

Kimberly A. Herrmann, Deidre A. Hunter, Bruce G. Elmegreen

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47 Scopus citations


Radial surface brightness profiles of spiral galaxies are classified into three types: (I) single exponential, or the light falls off with one exponential to a break before falling off (II) more steeply, or (III) less steeply. Profile breaks are also found in dwarf disks, but some dwarf Type IIs are flat or increasing out to a break before falling off. Here we re-examine the stellar disk profiles of 141 dwarfs: 96 dwarf irregulars (dIms), 26 Blue Compact Dwarfs (BCDs), and 19 Magellanic-type spirals (Sms). We fit single, double, or even triple exponential profiles in up to 11 passbands: GALEX FUV and NUV, ground-based UBVJHK and Hα, and Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 μm. We find that more luminous galaxies have brighter centers, larger inner and outer scale lengths, and breaks at larger radii; dwarf trends with MB extend to spirals. However, the V-band break surface brightness is independent of break type, MB, and Hubble type. Dwarf Type II and III profiles fall off similarly beyond the breaks but have different interiors and IIs break twice as far as IIIs. Outer Type II and III scale lengths may have weak trends with wavelength, but pure Type II inner scale lengths clearly decrease from the FUV to visible bands whereas Type III inner scale lengths increase with redder bands. This suggests the influence of different star formation histories on profile type, but nonetheless the break location is approximately the same in all passbands. Dwarfs continue trends between profile and Hubble types such that later-type galaxies have more Type II but fewer Type I and III profiles than early-type spirals. BCDs and Sms are over-represented as Types III and II, respectively, compared to dIms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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