Mapping Dwarf Satellite Systems in the Local Volume with Wide-field Imaging and Surface Brightness Fluctuations

Studying dwarfs (satellites and field) is hampered by the lack of easy distance measures for these low surface brightness (LSB) galaxies, although they are routinely discovered in photometric surveys. We have explored the use of surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) measurements as a powerful tool for determining the distance to nearby dwarf galaxies and have derived a calibration that is appropriate for these often blue systems and is based solely on the tip of the red giant branch. With this tool in hand, we have undertaken a survey of the dwarf satellites around several Milky Way-like galaxies in the Local Volume, in order to gain a new perspective on the formation of small-scale structure. Initial results of the search will be discussed.

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