Massive H I clouds with no optical counterparts as high-density regions of intragroup H I rings and arcs

K. Bekki*, B. S. Koribalski, S. D. Ryder, W. J. Couch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new scenario in which massive intragroup HI clouds are the high-density parts of large HI rings/arcs formed by dynamical interaction between galaxy groups and gas-rich, low surface brightness (LSB) galaxies with extended gas discs. Our hydrodynamical simulations demonstrate that the group tidal field is very efficient at stripping the outer HI gas of the disc if the gaseous disc of the LSB galaxy extends 2-5 times further than the stellar disc. We find that a massive, extended 'leading stream' orbiting the centre of the group can form out of the stripped outer HI envelope, while the severely shrunken LSB galaxy, whose stellar disc remains unaffected, continues on its path. The result is a relatively isolated, massive HI cloud with a ring- or arc-like shape, a very inhomogeneous density distribution (NHI ~ 1.0 × 1017 -1.1 × 1020 atom cm-2), and, initially, no stellar content. Only the high-density peaks of the simulated intragroup HI ring/arc can be detected in many current HI observations. These will appear as relatively isolated 'H I islands' near the group centre. We also find that star formation can occur within the ring/arc, if the total gas mass within the intragroup ring/arc is very large (~4 × 109 M⊙). We discuss these results in terms of existing observations of intragroup gas (e.g. the Leo Ring and HIPASS J0731-69) and intergalactic HII regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L21-L25
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: interaction
  • Intergalactic medium
  • ISM: clouds
  • Radio lines: ISM


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