The Exploration of Local VolumE Satellites (ELVES) Survey: A Nearly Volume-limited Sample of Nearby Dwarf Satellite Systems

Scott G. Carlsten, Jenny E. Greene, Rachael L. Beaton, Shany Danieli, Johnny P. Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We present the final sample of the Exploration of Local VolumE Satellites (ELVES) survey, a survey of the dwarf satellites of a nearly volume-limited sample of Milky Way (MW)-like hosts in the Local Volume. Hosts are selected simply via a cut in luminosity ( MKs<-22.1 mag) and distance (D < 12 Mpc). We cataloged the satellites of 25 of the 31 such hosts, with another five taken from the literature. All hosts are surveyed out to at least 150 projected kpc ( ∼R vir/2), with the majority surveyed to 300 kpc ( ∼R vir). Satellites are detected using a consistent semiautomated algorithm specialized for low surface brightness dwarfs. As shown through extensive tests with injected galaxies, the catalogs are complete to M V ∼-9 mag and μ 0,V ∼26.5 mag arcsec-2. Candidates are confirmed to be real satellites through distance measurements including redshift, tip of the red giant branch, and surface brightness fluctuations. Across all 30 surveyed hosts, there are 338 confirmed satellites with M V < -9 mag, with a further 106 candidates awaiting distance measurement. For the vast majority of these, we provide consistent multiband Sérsic photometry. We show that satellite abundance correlates with host mass, with the MW being quite typical among comparable systems, and that satellite quenched fraction rises steeply with decreasing satellite mass, mirroring the quenched fraction for the MW and M31. The ELVES survey represents a massive increase in the statistics of surveyed systems with known completeness, and the provided catalogs are a unique data set to explore various aspects of small-scale structure and dwarf galaxy evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Exploration of Local VolumE Satellites (ELVES) Survey: A Nearly Volume-limited Sample of Nearby Dwarf Satellite Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this