EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 421, Number 2, July II 2004
Page(s) 519 - 528
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035949

A&A 421, 519-528 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035949

Pox 186: An ultracompact galaxy with dominant ionized gas emission

N. G. Guseva1, P. Papaderos2, Y. I. Izotov1, K. G. Noeske2, 3 and K. J. Fricke2

1  Main Astronomical Observatory, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Zabolotnoho 27, Kyiv 03680, Ukraine
2  Universitäts-Sternwarte, Geismarlandstraße 11, 37083 Göttingen, Germany
3  University of California, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA

(Received 26 December 2003 / Accepted 23 March 2004)

We present a ground-based optical spectroscopic and HST  U, V, I photometric study of the blue compact dwarf (BCD) galaxy Pox 186. It is found that the emission of the low-surface brightness (LSB) component in Pox 186 at radii  $\la$3´´ ( $\la$270 pc in linear scale) is mainly gaseous in origin. We detect H $\alpha$ emission out to radii as large as 6´´. At radii  $\ga$3´´ the light of the LSB component is contaminated by the emission of background galaxies complicating the study of the outermost regions. The surface brightness distribution in the LSB component can be approximated by an exponential law with a scale length  $\alpha \la 120$ pc. This places Pox 186 among the most compact dwarf galaxies known. The derived  $\alpha$ is likely to be an upper limit to the scale length of the LSB component because of the strong contribution of the gaseous emission. The oxygen abundance in the bright H II region derived from the 4.5 m Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) and 3.6 m ESO telescope spectra are $12 + \log\,{\rm (O/H)} = 7.76 \pm 0.02$ and  $7.74 \pm 0.01$ (~ $Z_\odot$/15), respectively, in accordance with previous determinations. The helium mass fractions found in this region are $Y = 0.248 \pm 0.009$ (MMT) and  $Y = 0.248 \pm 0.004$ (3.6 m) suggesting a high primordial helium abundance.

Key words: ISM: abundances -- galaxies: dwarf -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: irregular

Offprint request: N. G. Guseva, guseva@mao.kiev.ua

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