Hubble Space Telescope Observations of Tadpole Galaxies Kiso3867, SBS0, SBS1, and UM461

Download paper


Tadpole galaxies are metal-poor dwarfs with typically one dominant star-forming region, giving them a head-tail structure when inclined. A metallicity drop in the head suggests that gas accretion with even lower metallicity stimulated the star formation. Here we present multiband Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys images of four nearby (<25 Mpc) tadpoles, SBS0, SBS1, Kiso3867, and UM461, selected for their clear metallicity drops shown in previous spectroscopic studies. The properties of the star complexes and compact clusters are measured. Each galaxy contains from three to 10 young stellar complexes with 103-105 M ⊙ of stars ∼3-10 Myr old. Between the complexes, the disk has a typical age of ∼3 Gyr. Numerous star clusters cover the galaxies, both inside and outside the complexes. The combined cluster mass function, made by normalizing the masses and counts before stacking, is a power law with a slope of −1.12 ± 0.14 on a log-log plot and the combined distribution function of cluster lifetime decays with age as t −0.65±0.24. A comparison between the summed theoretical Lyman continuum (LyC) emission from all the clusters, given their masses and ages, is comparable to or exceeds the LyC needed to excite the observed Hα in some galaxies, suggesting LyC absorption by dust or undetected gas in the halo, or perhaps galaxy escape.