The Universe is almost totally unexplored at low surface brightness levels. In spite of great progress in the construction of large telescopes and improvements in the sensitivity of detectors, the limiting surface brightness of imaging observations has remained static for about 40 years. Recent technical advances have at last begun to erode the barriers preventing progress. In this chapter, we describe the technical challenges to low surface brightness imaging, describe some solutions and highlight some relevant observations that have been undertaken recently with both large and small telescopes. Our main focus will be on discoveries made with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array (Dragonfly), which is a new telescope concept designed to probe the Universe down to hitherto unprecedented low surface brightness levels. We conclude by arguing that these discoveries are probably only scratching the surface of interesting phenomena that are observable when the Universe is explored at low surface brightness levels.
Outskirts of Galaxies
- Pub Date:
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 27 pages, 10 figures, Invited review, Book chapter in "Outskirts of Galaxies", Eds. J. H. Knapen, J. C. Lee and A. Gil de Paz, Astrophysics and Space Science Library, Springer, in press