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The Missing Satellite Problem Outside of the Local Group. I. Pilot Observation

Tanaka, Masayuki; Chiba, Masashi; Hayashi, Kohei; Komiyama, Yutaka; Okamoto, Takashi; Cooper, Andrew P.; Okamoto, Sakurako; Spitler, Lee

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Masayuki Tanaka

Masashi Chiba

Kohei Hayashi

Yutaka Komiyama

Takashi Okamoto

Andrew P. Cooper

Sakurako Okamoto

Lee Spitler


We present results from a pilot observation of nearby (~20 Mpc) galaxies with masses similar to that of the Milky Way (MW) to address the missing satellite problem. This is the first paper from an ongoing project to address the problem with a statistical sample of galaxies outside of the Local Group (LG) without employing an assumption that the LG is a typical halo in the universe. Thanks to the close distances of our targets, dwarf galaxies around them can be identified as extended, diffuse galaxies. By applying a surface brightness cut together with a careful visual screening to remove artifacts and background contamination, we construct a sample of dwarf galaxies. The luminosity function (LF) of one of the targets is broadly consistent with that of the MW, but the other has a more abundant dwarf population. Numerical simulations by Okamoto seem to overpredict the number of dwarfs on average, while more recent predictions from Copernicus Complexio are in better agreement. In both observations and simulations, there is a large diversity in the LFs, demonstrating the importance of addressing the missing satellite problem with a statistically representative sample. We also characterize the projected spatial distributions of the satellites and do not observe strong evidence for alignments around the central galaxies. Based on this successful pilot observation, we are carrying out further observations to increase the sample of nearby galaxies, which we plan to report in our future paper.


Tanaka, M., Chiba, M., Hayashi, K., Komiyama, Y., Okamoto, T., Cooper, A. P., …Spitler, L. (2018). The Missing Satellite Problem Outside of the Local Group. I. Pilot Observation. Astrophysical Journal, 865(2), Article 125.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 9, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 28, 2018
Publication Date Sep 28, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 18, 2018
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 865
Issue 2
Article Number 125


Published Journal Article (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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