The large-scale environment of low surface brightness galaxies
German Aerospace Center (DLR), Remote Sensing Technology Institute, Photogrammetry and Image Analysis Unit, Münchner Str. 20, 82234 Weßling, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Astronomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (AIRUB), Universitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany
3 German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Space Operation Center (GSOC), Mission Operations Division, Münchner Str. 20, 82234 Weßling, Germany
Accepted: 2 July 2009
Context. The exact formation scenarios and evolutionary processes that led to the existence of the class of low surface brightness galaxies (LSBs) have not yet been understood completely. There is evidence that the lack of star formation expected to be typical of LSBs can only occur if the LSBs were formed in low-density regions.
Aims. Since the environment of LSBs has been studied before only on small scales (below 2 Mpc), a study of the galaxy content in the vicinity of LSB galaxies on larger scales could add a lot to our understanding of the origin of this galaxy class.
Methods. We used the spectroscopic main galaxy sample of the SDSS DR4 to investigate the environmental galaxy density of LSB galaxies compared to the galaxy density in the vicinity of high surface brightness galaxies (HSBs). To avoid the influence of evolutionary effects depending of redshift and to minimize completeness issues within the SDSS, we limited the environment studies to the local universe with a redshift of . At first we studied the luminosity distribution of the LSB sample obtained from the SDSS within two symmetric redshift intervals ( and ).
Results. It was found that the lower redshift interval is dominated by small, low-luminosity LSBs, whereas the LSB sample in the higher redshift range mainly consists of larger, more luminous LSBs. This comes from selection effects of the SDSS spectroscopic sample. The environment studies, also divided into these two redshift bins, show that both the low mass, and the more massive LSBs possess an environment with a lower galaxy density than HSBs. The differences in the galaxy density between LSBs and HSBs are significant on scales between 2 and 5 Mpc, the scales of groups and filaments. To quantify this, we have introduced for the first time the LSB-HSB Antibias. The obtained LSB-HSB Antibias parameter has a value of –.
Conclusions. From these results we conclude that LSBs formed in low-density regions of the initial universe and have drifted until now to the outer parts of the filaments and walls of the large-scale structure. Furthermore, our results, together with actual cosmological simulations, show that LSBs are caused by a mixture of nature and nurture.
Key words: galaxies: distances and redshifts / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: statistics / galaxies: dwarf
© ESO, 2009