The nearby damped Lyα absorber SBS 1543+593: A large H I envelope in a gas-rich galaxy group

Jessica L. Rosenberg, David V. Bowen, Todd M. Tripp, Elias Brinks

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9 Scopus citations


We present a Very Large Array H I 21 cm map and optical observations of the region around one of the nearest damped Lyα absorbers beyond the Local Group, SBS 1543+593. Two previously uncataloged galaxies have been discovered, and a redshift has been determined for a third. All three of these galaxies are at the redshift of SBS 1543+593 and are ≲185 kpc from the damped Lyα absorber. We discuss the H I and optical properties of SBS 1543+593 and its newly identified neighbors. Both SBS 1543+593 and RBTB 154542.8+591132 have baryonic components that are dominated by neutral gas - unusual for damped Lyα absorbers, for which only ∼5% of the H I cross section originates in such strongly gas-dominated systems. What remains unknown is whether low-mass gas-rich groups are common surrounding gas-rich galaxies in the local universe and whether the low star formation rate in these systems is indicative of a young system or a stable, slowly evolving system. We discuss these evolutionary scenarios and future prospects for answering these questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-488
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Galaxies: individual (SBS 1543+593, MCG +10-22-038)
  • Galaxies: structure
  • Quasars: absorption lines
  • Radio lines: galaxies


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