The dwarf galaxies in the Local Group (LG) reveal a surprising amount of spatial structuring. In particular, almost all non-satellite dwarfs belong to one of two planes that show a very pronounced symmetry. In order to determine if these structures in the LG are dynamically stable or, alternatively, if they only represent transient alignments, proper motion measurements of these galaxies are required. A viable method to derive proper motions is offered by VLBI studies of 22-GHz water (and 6.7-GHz methanol) maser lines in star-forming regions.
In 2016, in the framework of the Early Science Program of the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), we have conducted an extensive observational campaign to map the entire optical body of all the LG dwarf galaxies that belong to the two planes, at C and K band, in a search for methanol and water maser emission.
Here, we outline the project and present its first results on 3 targets, NGC 6822, IC 1613, and WLM. While no luminous maser emission has been detected in these galaxies, a number of interesting weaker detections has been obtained, associated with particularly active star forming regions. In addition, we have produced deep radio continuum maps for these galaxies, aimed at investigating their star forming activity and providing an improved assessment of star formation rates in these galaxies.
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