HI-bearing Ultra Diffuse Galaxies in the ALFALFA Survey

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American Astronomical Society


The Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (Arecibo L-band Feed Array) extragalactic HI survey, with over 30,000 high significance extragalactic sources, is well positioned to locate gas-bearing, low surface brightness sources missed by optical detection algorithms. We investigate the nature of a population of HI-bearing sources in ALFALFA with properties similar to "ultra-diffuse" galaxies (UDGs): galaxies with stellar masses of dwarf galaxies, but radii of L* galaxies. These "HI-bearing ultra-diffuse" sources (HUDS) constitute a small, but pertinent, fraction of the dwarf-mass galaxies in ALFALFA. They are bluer and have more irregular morphologies than the optically-selected UDGs found in clusters, and they appear to be gas-rich for their stellar mass, indicating low star formation efficiency. To illuminate potential explanations for the extreme properties of these sources we explore their environments and estimate their halo properties. We conclude that environmental mechanism are unlikely the cause of HUDS' properties, as they exist in environments equivalent to that of the other ALFALFA sources of similar HI-masses, however, we do find some suggestion that these HUDS may reside in high spin parameter halos, a potential explanation for their "ultra-diffuse" nature.