Images obtained with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) are used to investigate the stellar content and distance of the dwarf irregular galaxy Kar 50. The brightest object is an H II region, and the bright stellar content is dominated by stars with g'-r'<0. The tips of the main sequence and the red giant branch (RGB) are tentatively identified near r'=24.9 and i'=25.5, respectively. The galaxy has a blue integrated color and no significant color gradient, and we conclude that Kar 50 has experienced a recent galaxy-wide episode of star formation. The distance estimated from the brightest blue stars indicates that Kar 50 is behind the M81 group, and this is consistent with the tentative RGB-tip brightness. Kar 50 has a remarkably flat central surface brightness profile, even at wavelengths approaching 1 μm, although there is no evidence of a bar. In the absence of another large star-forming episode, Kar 50 will evolve into a very low surface brightness galaxy. Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council of Canada (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), CNPq (Brazil), and CONICET (Argentina).
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
- Pub Date:
- November 2002
- Galaxies: Dwarf;
- galaxies: individual (Karachentsev 50);
- Galaxies: Stellar Content;
- 17 pages of text and 8 postscript figures. Accepted for publication in the PASP