A Caltech Library Service

A tidally distorted dwarf galaxy near NGC 4449

Rich, R. M. and Collins, M. L. M. and Black, C. M. and Longstaff, F. A. and Koch, A. and Benson, A. and Reitzel, D. B. (2012) A tidally distorted dwarf galaxy near NGC 4449. Nature, 482 (7384). pp. 192-194. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature10837.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


NGC 4449 is a nearby Magellanic irregular starburst galaxy with a B-band absolute magnitude of −18 and a prominent, massive, intermediate-age nucleus at a distance from Earth of 3.8 megaparsecs. It is wreathed in an extraordinary neutral hydrogen (H i) complex, which includes rings, shells and a counter-rotating core, spanning ~90 kiloparsecs. NGC 4449 is relatively isolated, although an interaction with its nearest known companion—the galaxy DDO 125, some 40 kpc to the south—has been proposed as being responsible for the complexity of its H i structure. Here we report the presence of a dwarf galaxy companion to NGC 4449, namely NGC 4449B. This companion has a V-band absolute magnitude of −13.4 and a half-light radius of 2.7 kpc, with a full extent of around 8 kpc. It is in a transient stage of tidal disruption, similar to that of the Sagittarius dwarf near the Milky Way. NGC 4449B exhibits a striking S-shaped morphology that has been predicted for disrupting galaxies but has hitherto been seen only in a dissolving globular cluster. We also detect an additional arc or disk ripple embedded in a two-component stellar halo, including a component extending twice as far as previously known, to about 20 kpc from the galaxy’s centre.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Rich, R. M.0000-0003-0427-8387
Benson, A.0000-0001-5501-6008
Additional Information:© 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 14 December 2011. Accepted 03 January 2012. Published online 08 February 2012. R.M.R. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation. The Saturn Lodge 0.7-m telescope was funded and implemented by R.M.R. and F.A.L. The authors acknowledge members of the Polaris Observatory Association, who maintain the observatory infrastructure and who assisted in the construction and implementation of the telescope and enclosure, and J. Riffle, who designed and built the Centurion 28-inch telescope. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) and of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Author Contributions: R.M.R. conceived the project, obtained the data and coordinated the activity. M.L.M.C. fitted the surface photometry of NGC 4449 and NGC 4449B. C.M.B., F.M.L. and D.B.R. analysed and reduced various aspects of the dataset, including the surface photometry. F.A.L. and R.M.R. implemented the Saturn Lodge 0.7-m telescope and detector system. A.K. provided insight on dwarf galaxies and discussion, and A.B. provided a discussion of theoretical implications. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:7384
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120224-152534962
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A tidally distorted dwarf galaxy near NGC 4449 R. M. Rich, M. L. M. Collins, C. M. Black, F. A. Longstaff, A. Koch + et al A dwarf galaxy companion to NGC 4449 is reported, and is found to be in a transient stage of tidal disruption. Nature 482, 192–194 (09 February 2012) doi:10.1038/nature10837
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:29467
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:24 Feb 2012 23:45
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 17:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page