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A Normal Stellar Disk in the Galaxy Malin 1

  • Barth, A. J.
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 03, 2007
Submission Date
Dec 31, 2006
DOI: 10.1086/511180
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Since its discovery, Malin 1 has been considered the prototype and most extreme example of the class of giant low surface brightness disk galaxies. Examination of an archival Hubble Space Telescope I-band image reveals that Malin 1 contains a normal stellar disk that was not previously recognized, having a central I-band surface brightness of mu_0 = 20.1 mag arcsec^-2 and a scale length of 4.8 kpc. Out to a radius of ~10 kpc, the structure of Malin 1 is that of a typical SB0/a galaxy. The remarkably extended, faint outer structure detected out to r~100 kpc appears to be a photometrically distinct component and not a simple extension of the inner disk. In terms of its disk scale length and central surface brightness, Malin 1 was originally found to be a very remote outlier relative to all other known disk galaxies. The presence of a disk of normal size and surface brightness in Malin 1 suggests that such extreme outliers in disk properties probably do not exist, but underscores the importance of the extended outer disk regions for a full understanding of the structure and formation of spiral galaxies.

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