H-alpha And Multicolor Imaging Of LSB Galaxies

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astronomy

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

We present deep B, V and H-alpha imaging of 59 LSB galaxies selected from the PSS-II LSB catalog (Schombert et al. 1992). Combined with previous 21-cm observations, this sample represents one of the largest to date capable of studying the global and spatial star formation history of these unusual type of galaxies. The sample contains galaxies with central surface brightnesses ranging from 22 to 25 V mag arcsecs^-2 and sizes from 0.3 kpc to 10 kpc. The mean L(H-alpha) for the sample is 10^38 (ergs s^-1), which is a factor of 10 below previous work on irregular galaxies (i.e., Hunter & Elmgreen).
We confirm a number of poorly defined relationships between color and surface brightness. The bluest regions are the highest in surface brightness (recent areas of star formation), although never above the central surface brightnesses of the galaxy as is typical in normal spirals. While the brightest regions have B-V colors between 0.1 and 0.4, even the faintest regions have mean colors 0.4 and 0.6, in contradiction with their extremely low stellar densities.
Central surface brightness is crudely correlated with H-alpha emission (total current star formation rate). However, HII regions are small, and uncorrelated with stellar density on a local scale (i.e. visual appearance is no predictor of H-alpha emission).
Numerous color feature are seen in the sample ranging from typical color gradients to linear features indicative coherent star formation events. We also report the discovery of "blue bubbles", circular regions of blue color centered on H-alpha knots.

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