Unveiling a rich system of faint dwarf galaxies in the next generation fornax survey

Roberto P. Muñoz, Paul Eigenthaler, Thomas H. Puzia, Matthew A. Taylor, Yasna Ordenes-Briceño, Karla Alamo-Martínez, Karen X. Ribbeck, Simón Ángel, Massimo Capaccioli, Patrick Côté, Laura Ferrarese, Gaspar Galaz, Maren Hempel, Michael Hilker, Andrés Jordán, Ariane Lançon, Steffen Mieske, Maurizio Paolillo, Tom Richtler, Ruben Sánchez-JanssenHongxin Zhang

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We report the discovery of 158 previously undetected dwarf galaxies in the Fornax cluster central regions using a deep coadded u-, g-, and i-band image obtained with the Dark Energy Camera wide-field camera mounted on the 4-m Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory as part of the Next Generation Fornax Survey (NGFS). The new dwarf galaxies have quasi-exponential light profiles, effective radii 0.1 < re < 2.8 kpc, and average effective surface brightness values 22.0 < μi < 28.0 mag arcsec-2. We confirm the existence of ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) in the Fornax core regions that resemble counterparts recently discovered in the Virgo and Coma galaxy clusters. We also find extremely low surface brightness NGFS dwarfs, which are several magnitudes fainter than the classical UDGs. The faintest dwarf candidate in our NGFS sample has an absolute magnitude of Mi = -8.0 mag. The nucleation fraction of the NGFS dwarf galaxy sample appears to decrease as a function of their total luminosity, reaching from a nucleation fraction of >75% at luminosities brighter than Mi ≃ -15.0 mag to 0% at luminosities fainter than Mi ≃ -10.0 mag. The two-point correlation function analysis of the NGFS dwarf sample shows an excess on length scales below ∼100 kpc, pointing to the clustering of dwarf galaxies in the Fornax cluster core.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL15
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: clusters: individual (Fornax)
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD


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