Star Formation in Isolated Dwarf Galaxies Hosting Tidal Debris: Extending the Dwarf-Dwarf Merger Sequence

Erin Kado-Fong, Jenny E. Greene, Johnny P. Greco, Rachael Beaton, Andy D. Goulding, Sean D. Johnson, Yutaka Komiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Like massive galaxies, dwarf galaxies are expected to undergo major mergers with other dwarfs. However, the end state of these mergers and the role that merging plays in regulating dwarf star formation are uncertain. Using imaging from the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program, we construct a sample of dwarf-dwarf mergers and examine the star formation and host properties of the merging systems. These galaxies are selected via an automated detection algorithm from a sample of 6875 spectroscopically selected isolated dwarf galaxies at z < 0.12 and from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly and Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopic campaigns. We find a total tidal feature detection fraction of 3.29% (6.1% when considering only galaxies at z < 0.05). The tidal feature detection fraction rises strongly as a function of star formation activity; 15%-20% of galaxies with extremely high Hα equivalent width (Hα EW > 250 Å) show signs of tidal debris. Galaxies that host tidal debris are also systematically bluer than the average galaxy at fixed stellar mass. These findings extend the observed dwarf-dwarf merger sequence with a significant sample of dwarf galaxies, indicating that star formation triggered in mergers between dwarf galaxies continues after coalescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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