The PAndAS View of the Andromeda Satellite System. III. Dwarf Galaxy Detection Limits

Doliva-Dolinsky, Amandine; Martin, Nicolas F.; Thomas, Guillaume F.; Ferguson, Annette M. N.; Ibata, Rodrigo A.; Lewis, Geraint F.; Mackey, Dougal; McConnachie, Alan W.; Yuan, Zhen
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The Astrophysical Journal

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We determine the detection limits of the search for dwarf galaxies in the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) using the algorithm developed by the PAndAS team. The recovery fractions of artificial dwarf galaxies are, as expected, a strong function of physical size and luminosity and, to a lesser extent, distance. We show that these recovery fractions vary strongly with location in the surveyed area because of varying levels of contamination from both the Milky Way foreground stars and the stellar halo of Andromeda. We therefore provide recovery fractions that are a function of size, luminosity, and location within the survey on a scale of ~1 × 1 deg2 (or ~14 × 14 kpc2). Overall, the effective surface brightness for a 50% detection rate ranges between 28 and 30 mag arcsec-2. This is in line with expectations for a search that relies on photometric data that are as deep as the PAndAS survey. The derived detection limits are an essential ingredient on the path to constraining the global properties of Andromeda's system of satellite dwarf galaxies and, more broadly, to providing constraints on dwarf galaxy formation and evolution in a cosmological context.
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