Searching for Extragalactic Star Formation in the M101 Group


We present deep, narrowband imaging of the nearby spiral galaxy M101 to search for star-forming dwarf galaxies and isolated HII regions in the group environment. Isolated star-forming regions, unassociated with spiral arms, probe star formation (SF) at the lowest masses and environmental densities. Such objects may be isolated star-forming events or ongoing evidence of tidal interactions. Using the Burrell Schmidt telescope, we target the brightest emission lines of star-forming regions, H$\alpha$, H$\beta$, and [OIII], to detect potential isolated regions. Great care was taken to remove potential source contaminants, such as high-redshift objects and Galactic M stars, from our source list. For each detected source, we compare the emission line fluxes and equivalent widths, along with structural and photometric properties, to samples of Local Group dwarfs and star-forming galaxies in the SINGG/11HUGS samples. We discuss our findings in the context of SF in low-density environments and evolution of the M101 Group.

In Research Notes of the AAS
Ray Garner
Ray Garner
CWRU Astronomy PhD Candidate

I’m a budding scientist and amateur photographer raised in Georgia and living in Ohio. My research interests include galaxy evolution, star formation, satellite galaxies, and nebular diagnostics.