A Deep Photometric Survey of Nearby Galaxies
The LCDM cosmological model predicts that all massive galaxies grow at least in part due to the accretion of less massive systems, and we therefore expect these galaxies to be embeded in diffuse stellar halos containing the debris of these events. We are carrying out a deep photometric survey of nearby galaxies with the intent of characterizing the prevalence and variety of stellar halos. Early results from the spiral galaxy M101 revealed that stellar halos may not be ubiquitous around massive galaxies even at surface brightnesses of 32 mag/arcsec^2, and future results from the survey will determine, among other things, the extent to which M101 is an outlier.
Other science goals for the survey: We are interested in the extent of stellar disks, intracluster light, and the number density of low surface brightness satellites and ultra diffuse galaxies across a variety of environments.