Document Type


Publication Date



We present a wide (8. Degree-Sign 5 Multiplication-Sign 6. Degree-Sign 7, 1050 Multiplication-Sign 825 kpc), deep ({sigma}{sub N{sub H{sub {sub {sub i}}}}}10{sup 16.8}-10{sup 17.5} cm{sup -2}) neutral hydrogen (H I) map of the M101 galaxy group. We identify two new H I sources in the group environment, one an extremely low surface brightness (and hitherto unknown) dwarf galaxy, and the other a starless H I cloud, possibly primordial in origin. Our data show that M101's extended H I envelope takes the form of a {approx}100 kpc long tidal loop or plume of H I extending to the southwest of the galaxy. The plume has an H I mass of {approx}10{sup 8} M{sub Sun} and a peak column density of N{sub H{sub i}}= 5 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 17} cm{sup -2}, and while it rotates with the main body of M101, it shows kinematic peculiarities suggestive of a warp or flaring out of the rotation plane of the galaxy. We also find two new H I clouds near the plume with masses {approx}10{sup 7} M{sub Sun }, similar to H I clouds seen in the M81/M82 group, and likely also tidal in nature. Comparing to deep optical imaging of the M101 group, neithermore » the plume nor the clouds have any extended optical counterparts down to a limiting surface brightness of {mu}{sub B} = 29.5. We also trace H I at intermediate velocities between M101 and NGC 5474, strengthening the case for a recent interaction between the two galaxies. The kinematically complex H I structure in the M101 group, coupled with the optical morphology of M101 and its companions, suggests that the group is in a dynamically active state that is likely common for galaxies in group environments.« less

Source Citation

Mihos, J. Christopher., Keating, Katie M., Holley-Bockelmann, Kelly., Pisano, D. J., & Kassim, Namir E. (2012). The H I Environment Of The M101 Group. The Astrophysical Journal, 761(2), 186.