We have commenced a 21 cm survey of the entire southern sky (δ < 0°, -1200 km s-1 < v⊙ < 12,700 km s-1) that is "blind," i.e., unbiased by previous optical information. In the present paper we report on the results of a pilot project that is based on data from this all-sky survey. The project was carried out on an area of 600 deg2 centered on the nearby Centaurus A (Cen A) group of galaxies at a mean velocity of v⊙ ∼ 500 km s-1. This was recently the subject of a separate and thorough optical survey. We found 10 new group members to add to 21 galaxies already known in the Cen A group: five of these are previously uncataloged galaxies, while five were previously catalogued but not known to be associated with the group. Most of the new members have H I masses close to our survey limit of 107 M⊙ at the assumed group distance of 3.5 Mpc. The new detection with the largest H I mass is ESO 174-G?001 with MH I = 2.1 × 108 M⊙. Prior to our survey this galaxy was an uncertain optical identification because of high Galactic extinction. We found optical counterparts for all the H I detections, most of them intrinsically very faint (MB>-13.0), low surface brightness dwarf galaxies with H I profile line-widths suggestive of dynamics dominated by dark matter. The new group members add approximately 6% to the H I mass of the group and 4% to its light. The H I mass function, derived from all the known group galaxies in the interval 107 M⊙ < MH I < 109 M⊙, has a faint-end slope of 1.30 ± 0.15, allowing us to rule out a slope of 1.7 at 95% confidence. Even if the number in the lowest mass bin is increased by 50%, the slope only increases to 1.45 ± 0.15.
- Galaxies: Clusters: Individual (Centaurus A)
- Galaxies: Distances and redshifts
- Galaxies: ISM
- Radio lines: Galaxies