576 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

    The Nature of LINER-like Emission in Red Galaxies

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    Passive red galaxies frequently contain warm ionized gas and have spectra similar to low-ionization nuclear emission-line regions (LINERs). Here we investigate the nature of the ionizing sources powering this emission, by comparing nuclear spectroscopy from the Palomar survey with larger aperture data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We find the line emission in the majority of passive red galaxies is spatially extended; the Halpha surface brightness profile depends on radius (r) as r^(-1.28). We detect strong line ratio gradients with radius in [N II]/Ha, [S II]/Ha, and [O III]/[S II], requiring the ionization parameter to increase outwards. Combined with a realistic gas density profile, this outward increasing ionization parameter convincingly rules out AGN as the dominant ionizing source, and strongly favors distributed ionizing sources. Sources that follow the stellar density profile can additionally reproduce the observed luminosity-dependence of the line ratio gradient. Post-AGB stars provide a natural ionization source candidate, though they have an ionization parameter deficit. Velocity width differences among different emission lines disfavor shocks as the dominant ionization mechanism, and suggest that the interstellar medium in these galaxies contains multiple components. We conclude that the line emission in most LINER-like galaxies found in large aperture (>100pc) spectroscopy is not primarily powered by AGN activity and thus does not trace the AGN bolometric luminosity. However, they can be used to trace warm gas in these red galaxies.Comment: 27 pages, 25 figures, ApJ in press; v2: added Figure 20 and made minor revisions matching the accepted versio

    K-corrections and filter transformations in the ultraviolet, optical, and near infrared

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    Template fits to observed galaxy fluxes allow calculation of K-corrections and conversions among observations of galaxies at various wavelengths. We present a method for creating model-based template sets given a set of heterogeneous photometric and spectroscopic galaxy data. Our technique, non-negative matrix factorization, is akin to principle component analysis (PCA), except that it is constrained to produce nonnegative templates, it can use a basis set of models (rather than the delta function basis of PCA), and it naturally handles uncertainties, missing data, and heterogeneous data (including broad-band fluxes at various redshifts). The particular implementation we present here is suitable for ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared observations in the redshift range 0 < z < 1.5. Since we base our templates on stellar population synthesis models, the results are intepretable in terms of approximate stellar masses and star-formation histories. We present templates fit with this method to data from GALEX, Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopy and photometry, the Two-Micron All Sky Survey, the Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe and the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey. In addition, we present software for using such data to estimate K-corrections and stellar masses.Comment: 43 pages, 20 figures, submitted to AJ, software and full-resolution figures available at http://cosmo.nyu.edu/blanton/kcorrec

    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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