The Missing Satellites Problem (MSP) broadly refers to the overabundance of predicted Cold Dark Matter (CDM) subhalos compared to satellite galaxies known to exist in the Local Group. The most popular interpretation of the MSP is that the smallest dark matter halos in the universe are extremely inefficient at forming stars. The question from that standpoint is to identify the feedback source that makes small halos dark and to identify any obvious mass scale where the truncation in the efficiency of galaxy formation occurs. Among the most exciting developments in near-field cosmology in recent years is the discovery of a new population satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way and M31. Wide field, resolved star surveys have more than doubled the dwarf satellite count in less than a decade, revealing a population of ultrafaint galaxies that are less luminous that some star clusters. For the first time, there are empirical reasons to believe that there really are missing satellite galaxies in the Local Group, lurking just beyond our ability to detect them, or simply inhabiting a region of the sky that has yet to have been surveyed. Both kinematic studies and completeness-correction studies seem to point to a characteristic potential well depth for satellite subhalos that is quite close to the mass scale where photoionization and atomic cooling should limit galaxy formation. Among the more pressing problems associated with this interpretation is to understand the selection biases that limit our ability to detect the lowest mass galaxies. The least massive satellite halos are likely to host stealth galaxies with very-low surface brightness and this may be an important limitation in the hunt for low-mass fossils from the epoch of reionization.
- Pub Date:
- September 2010
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Galaxy Astrophysics
- 38p. To appear in XX Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics on Local Group Cosmology, Ed. D. Mart\'inez-Delgado