943 research outputs found

    Stellar Metallicity Gradients in SDSS galaxies

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    We infer stellar metallicity and abundance ratio gradients for a sample of red galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Main galaxy sample. Because this sample does not have multiple spectra at various radii in a single galaxy, we measure these gradients statistically. We separate galaxies into stellar mass bins, stack their spectra in redshift bins, and calculate the measured absorption line indices in projected annuli by differencing spectra in neighboring redshift bins. After determining the line indices, we use stellar population modeling from the EZ\_Ages software to calculate ages, metallicities, and abundance ratios within each annulus. Our data covers the central regions of these galaxies, out to slightly higher than 1Re1 R_{e}. We find detectable gradients in metallicity and relatively shallow gradients in abundance ratios, similar to results found for direct measurements of individual galaxies. The gradients are only weakly dependent on stellar mass, and this dependence is well-correlated with the change of ReR_e with mass. Based on this data, we report mean equivalent widths, metallicities, and abundance ratios as a function of mass and velocity dispersion for SDSS early-type galaxies, for fixed apertures of 2.5 kpc and of 0.5 ReR_e.Comment: 19 pages; 8 tables, 12 figures. Submitted to ApJ for publicatio

    Galaxies in SDSS and DEEP2: a quiet life on the blue sequence?

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    In the six billion years between redshifts z=1 and z=0.1, galaxies change due to the aging of their stellar populations, the formation of new stars, and mergers with other galaxies. Here I explore the relative importance of these various effects, finding that while mergers are likely to be important for the red galaxy sequence they are unlikely to affect more than 10% of the blue galaxy sequence. I compare the galaxy population at redshift z=0.1 from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to that at z=1 from the Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe 2. Galaxies are bluer at z=1: the blue sequence by about 0.3 mag and the red sequence by about 0.1 mag, in redshift z=0.1 (u-g) color. I evaluate the change in color and in the luminosity functions of the two sequences using some simplistic stellar population synthesis models. These models indicate that the luminous end of the red sequence fades less than passive evolution allows by about 0.2 mag. Due to a lack of luminous blue progenitors, ``dry'' mergers betweeen red galaxies then must create the luminous red population at z=0.1, if stellar population models are correct. The blue sequence colors and luminosity function are consistent with a reduction in the star-formation rate since redshift z=1 by a factor of about three, with no change in the number density to within 10%. These results restrict the number of blue galaxies that can fall onto the red sequence by any process, and in particular suggest that if mergers are catastrophic events they must be rare for blue galaxies.Comment: submitted to ApJ, summary and viewgraphs available at http://cosmo.nyu.edu/blanton/deep2sdss

    Inside-out growth or inside-out quenching? clues from colour gradients of local galaxies

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    We constrain the spatial gradient of star formation history within galaxies using the colour gradients in NUV-u and u-i for a local spatially-resolved galaxy sample. By splitting each galaxy into an inner and an outer part, we find that most galaxies show negative gradients in these two colours. We first rule out dust extinction gradient and metallicity gradient as the dominant source for the colour gradient. Then using stellar population models, we explore variations in star formation history to explain the colour gradients. As shown by our earlier work, a two-phase SFH consisting of an early secular evolution (growth) phase and a subsequent rapid evolution (quenching) phase is necessary to explain the observed colour distributions among galaxies. We explore two different inside-out growth models and two different inside-out quenching models by varying parameters of the SFH between inner and outer regions of galaxies. Two of the models can explain the observed range of colour gradients in NUV-u and u-i colours. We further distinguish them using an additional constraint provided by the u-i colour gradient distribution, under the assumption of constant galaxy formation rate and a common SFH followed by most galaxies. We find the best model is an inside-out growth model in which the inner region has a shorter e-folding time scale in the growth phase than the outer region. More spatially resolved ultraviolet (UV) observations are needed to improve the significance of the result.Comment: 11 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in MNRA

    Improved background subtraction for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey images

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    We describe a procedure for background subtracting Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) imaging that improves the resulting detection and photometry of large galaxies on the sky. Within each SDSS drift scan run, we mask out detected sources and then fit a smooth function to the variation of the sky background. This procedure has been applied to all SDSS-III Data Release 8 images, and the results are available as part of that data set. We have tested the effect of our background subtraction on the photometry of large galaxies by inserting fake galaxies into the raw pixels, reanalyzing the data, and measuring them after background subtraction. Our technique results in no size-dependent bias in galaxy fluxes up to half-light radii of 100 arcsec; in contrast, for galaxies of that size the standard SDSS photometric catalog underestimates fluxes by about 1.5 mag. Our results represent a substantial improvement over the standard SDSS catalog results and should form the basis of any analysis of nearby galaxies using the SDSS imaging data.Comment: accepted by the Astronomical Journa
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