Sloan Digital Sky Survey (sloan + digital_sky_survey)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Terms modified by Sloan Digital Sky Survey

  • sloan digital sky survey data release

  • Selected Abstracts


    Ionized gas in E/S0 galaxies with dust lanes

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2010
    Ido Finkelman
    ABSTRACT We report the results of multicolour observations of 30 E/S0 galaxies with dust lanes. For each galaxy we obtained broad-band images and narrow-band images using interference filters isolating the H,+[N ii] emission lines to derive the amount and morphology of dust and ionized gas. To improve the wavelength coverage we retrieved data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Two Micron All Sky Survey and combined these with our data. Ionized gas is detected in 25 galaxies and shows in most cases a smooth morphology, although knots and filamentary structure are also observed in some objects. The extended gas distribution closely follows the dust structure, with a clear correlation between the mass of both components. An extinction law by the extragalactic dust in the dark lanes is derived and is used to estimate the dust content of the galaxies. The derived extinction law is used to correct the measured colours for intrinsic dust extinction and the data are fitted with a stellar population synthesis model. We find that the H, emission and colours of most objects are consistent with the presence of an ,old' stellar population (,10 Gyr) and a small fraction of a ,young' population (, 10,100 Myr). To check this we closely examine NGC 5363, for which archival Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera and Galaxy Evolution Explorer data are available, as a representative dust-lane E/S0 galaxy of the sample. [source]


    Abundances, masses and weak-lensing mass profiles of galaxy clusters as a function of richness and luminosity in ,CDM cosmologies

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2010
    Stefan Hilbert
    ABSTRACT We test the concordance , cold dark matter (,CDM) cosmology by comparing predictions for the mean properties of galaxy clusters to observations. We use high-resolution N -body simulations of cosmic structure formation and semi-analytic models of galaxy formation to compute the abundance, mean density profile and mass of galaxy clusters as a function of richness and luminosity, and we compare these predictions to observations of clusters in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) maxBCG catalogue. We discuss the scatter in the mass,richness relation, the reconstruction of the cluster mass function from the mass,richness relation and fits to the weak-lensing cluster mass profiles. The impact of cosmological parameters on the predictions is investigated by comparing results from galaxy models based on the Millennium Simulation (MS) and the WMAP1 simulation to those from the WMAP3 simulation. We find that the simulated weak-lensing mass profiles and the observed profiles of the SDSS maxBCG clusters agree well in shape and amplitude. The mass,richness relations in the simulations are close to the observed relation, with differences ,30 per cent. The MS and WMAP1 simulations yield cluster abundances similar to those observed, whereas abundances in the WMAP3 simulation are two to three times lower. The differences in cluster abundance, mass and density amplitude between the simulations and the observations can be attributed to differences in the underlying cosmological parameters, in particular the power spectrum normalization ,8. Better agreement between predictions and observations should be reached with a normalization 0.722 < ,8 < 0.9 (probably closer to the upper value), i.e. between the values underlying the two simulation sets. [source]


    The nature of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey galaxies in various classes based on morphology, colour and spectral features , III.

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2010
    Environments
    ABSTRACT We present a study on the environments of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) galaxies divided into fine classes based on their morphology, colour and spectral features. The SDSS galaxies are classified into early-type and late-type; red and blue; passive, H ii, Seyfert and low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER), which returns a total of 16 fine classes of galaxies. We estimate the local number density, target-excluded local luminosity density, local colour, close pair fraction and the luminosity and colour of the brightest neighbour, which are compared between the fine classes comprehensively. The morphology,colour class of galaxies strongly depends on the local density, with the approximate order of high-density preference: red early-type galaxies (REGs); red late-type galaxies (RLGs); blue early-type galaxies (BEGs) and blue late-type galaxies (BLGs). We find that high-density environments (like cluster environments) seem to suppress active galactic nucleus activity. The pair fraction of H ii REGs does not show a statistically significant difference from that of passive REGs, while the pair fraction of H ii BLGs is smaller than that of non-H ii BLGs. H ii BLGs show obvious double (red + blue) peaks in the distribution of the brightest neighbour colour, while red galaxies show a single red peak. The brightest neighbours of Seyfert BLGs tend to be blue, while those of LINER BLGs tend to be red, which implies that the difference between Seyfert and LINER may be related to the pair interaction. Other various environments of the fine classes are investigated, and their implications for galaxy evolution are discussed. [source]


    Estimating the redshift distribution of photometric galaxy samples , II.

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2009
    Applications, tests of a new method
    ABSTRACT In Lima et al. we presented a new method for estimating the redshift distribution, N(z), of a photometric galaxy sample, using photometric observables and weighted sampling from a spectroscopic subsample of the data. In this paper, we extend this method and explore various applications of it, using both simulations and real data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In addition to estimating the redshift distribution for an entire sample, the weighting method enables accurate estimates of the redshift probability distribution, p(z), for each galaxy in a photometric sample. Use of p(z) in cosmological analyses can substantially reduce biases associated with traditional photometric redshifts, in which a single redshift estimate is associated with each galaxy. The weighting procedure also naturally indicates which galaxies in the photometric sample are expected to have accurate redshift estimates, namely those that lie in regions of photometric-observable space that are well sampled by the spectroscopic subsample. In addition to providing a method that has some advantages over standard photo- z estimates, the weights method can also be used in conjunction with photo- z estimates e.g. by providing improved estimation of N(z) via deconvolution of N(zphot) and improved estimates of photo- z scatter and bias. We present a publicly available p(z) catalogue for ,78 million SDSS DR7 galaxies. [source]


    Clustering of luminous red galaxies , II.

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    Small-scale redshift-space distortions
    ABSTRACT This is the second paper of a series where we study the clustering of luminous red galaxies (LRG) in the recent spectroscopic Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data release, DR6, which has 75 000 LRG covering over 1 Gpc3 h,3 for 0.15 < z < 0.47. Here, we focus on modelling redshift-space distortions in ,(,, ,), the two-point correlation in separate line-of-sight and perpendicular directions, at small scales and in the line-of-sight. We show that a simple Kaiser model for the anisotropic two-point correlation function in redshift space, convolved with a distribution of random peculiar velocities with an exponential form, can describe well the correlation of LRG on all scales. We show that to describe with accuracy the so-called ,fingers-of-God' (FOG) elongations in the radial direction, it is necessary to model the scale dependence of both bias b and the pairwise rms peculiar velocity ,12 with the distance. We show how both quantities can be inferred from the ,(,, ,) data. From r, 10 Mpc h,1 to r, 1 Mpc h,1, both the bias and ,12 are shown to increase by a factor of 2: from b= 2 to 4 and from ,12= 400 to 800 km s,1. The latter is in good agreement, within a 5 per cent accuracy in the recovered velocities, with direct velocity measurements in dark matter simulations with ,m= 0.25 and ,8= 0.85. [source]


    A halo model of galaxy colours and clustering in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2009
    Ramin A. Skibba
    ABSTRACT Successful halo-model descriptions of the luminosity dependence of clustering distinguish between the central galaxy in a halo and all the others (satellites). To include colours, we provide a prescription for how the colour,magnitude relation of centrals and satellites depends on halo mass. This follows from two assumptions: (i) the bimodality of the colour distribution at a fixed luminosity is independent of halo mass and (ii) the fraction of satellite galaxies which populate the red sequence increases with luminosity. We show that these two assumptions allow one to build a model of how galaxy clustering depends on colour without any additional free parameters than those required to model the luminosity dependence of galaxy clustering. We then show that the resulting model is in good agreement with the distribution and clustering of colours in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, both by comparing the predicted correlation functions of red and blue galaxies with measurements and by comparing the predicted colour,mark correlation function with the measured one. Mark correlation functions are powerful tools for identifying and quantifying correlations between galaxy properties and their environments: our results indicate that the correlation between halo mass and environment is the primary driver for correlations between galaxy colours and the environment; additional correlations associated with halo ,assembly bias' are relatively small. Our approach shows explicitly how to construct mock catalogues which include both luminosities and colours , thus providing realistic training sets for, e.g., galaxy cluster-finding algorithms. Our prescription is the first step towards incorporating the entire spectral energy distribution into the halo model approach. [source]


    Are fossil groups a challenge of the cold dark matter paradigm?

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    Stefano Zibetti
    ABSTRACT We study six groups and clusters of galaxies suggested in the literature to be ,fossil' systems (i.e. to have luminous diffuse X-ray emission and a magnitude gap of at least 2 mag R between the first and the second ranked member within half of the virial radius), each having good quality X-ray data and Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) spectroscopic or photometric coverage out to the virial radius. The poor cluster AWM 4 is clearly established as a fossil system, and we confirm the fossil nature of four other systems (RX J1331.5+1108, RX J1340.6+4018, RX J1256.0+2556 and RX J1416.4+2315), while the cluster RX J1552.2+2013 is disqualified as fossil system. For all systems, we present the luminosity functions within 0.5 and 1 virial radius that are consistent, within the uncertainties, with the universal luminosity function of clusters. For the five bona fide fossil systems, having a mass range 2 1013,3 1014 M,, we compute accurate cumulative substructure distribution functions (CSDFs) and compare them with the CSDFs of observed and simulated groups/clusters available in the literature. We demonstrate that the CSDFs of fossil systems are consistent with those of normal observed clusters and do not lack any substructure with respect to simulated galaxy systems in the cosmological , cold dark matter (,CDM) framework. In particular, this holds for the archetype fossil group RX J1340.6+4018 as well, contrary to earlier claims. [source]


    Scale-dependent galaxy bias in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as a function of luminosity and colour

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    James G. Cresswell
    ABSTRACT It has been known for a long time that the clustering of galaxies changes as a function of galaxy type. This galaxy bias acts as a hindrance to the extraction of cosmological information from the galaxy power spectrum or correlation function. Theoretical arguments show that a change in the amplitude of the clustering between galaxies and mass on large scales is unavoidable, but cosmological information can be easily extracted from the shape of the power spectrum or correlation function if this bias is independent of scale. Scale-dependent bias is generally small on large scales, k < 0.1 h Mpc,1, but on smaller scales can affect the recovery of ,mh from the measured shape of the clustering signal, and have a small effect on the Baryon Acoustic Oscillations. In this paper, we investigate the transition from scale-independent to scale-dependent galaxy bias as a function of galaxy population. We use the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 5 sample to fit various models, which attempt to parametrize the turn-off from scale-independent behaviour. For blue galaxies, we find that the strength of the turn-off is strongly dependent on galaxy luminosity, with stronger scale-dependent bias on larger scales for more luminous galaxies. For red galaxies, the scale dependence is a weaker function of luminosity. Such trends need to be modelled in order to optimally extract the information available in future surveys, and can help with the design of such surveys. [source]


    Satellite kinematics , II.

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    The halo mass, luminosity relation of central galaxies in SDSS
    ABSTRACT The kinematics of satellite galaxies reflect the masses of the extended dark matter haloes in which they orbit, and thus shed light on the mass,luminosity relation (MLR) of their corresponding central galaxies. In this paper, we select a large sample of centrals and satellites from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and measure the kinematics (velocity dispersions) of the satellite galaxies as a function of the r -band luminosity of the central galaxies. Using the analytical framework presented in More, van den Bosch & Cacciato, we use these data to infer both the mean and the scatter of the MLR of central galaxies, carefully taking account of selection effects and biases introduced by the stacking procedure. As expected, brighter centrals on average reside in more massive haloes. In addition, we find that the scatter in halo masses for centrals of a given luminosity, ,log M, also increases with increasing luminosity. As we demonstrate, this is consistent with ,log L, which reflects the scatter in the conditional probability function P(Lc|M), being independent of halo mass. Our analysis of the satellite kinematics yields ,log L= 0.16 0.04, in excellent agreement with constraints from clustering and group catalogues, and with predictions from a semi-analytical model of galaxy formation. We thus conclude that the amount of stochasticity in galaxy formation, which is characterized by ,log L, is well constrained, independent of halo mass and in a good agreement with current models of galaxy formation. [source]


    E+A and companion galaxies , I. A catalogue and statistics

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2008
    Chisato Yamauchi
    ABSTRACT Based on our intensive spectroscopic campaign with the GoldCam spectrograph on the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 2.1-m telescope, we have constructed the first catalogue of E+A galaxies with spectroscopic companion galaxies, and investigated a probability that an E+A galaxy has close companion galaxies. We selected 660 E+A galaxies with 4.0 < H, EW at a redshift of <0.167 from the Data Release 5 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We selected their companion candidates from the SDSS imaging data, and classified them into true companions, fore/background galaxies and companion candidates using the SDSS and our KPNO spectra. We observed 26 companion candidates of E+A galaxies at the KPNO to measure their redshifts. Their spectra showed that 17 targets are true companion galaxies. The number of spectroscopically confirmed E+A's companions is now 34. This becomes the first catalogue of E+A galaxies with spectroscopic companion systems. We found that E+A galaxies have 54 per cent larger probability of having companion galaxies (7.88 per cent) as compared to the comparison sample of normal galaxies (5.12 per cent). A statistical test shows that the probabilities are different with 99.7 per cent significance. Our results based on spectroscopy tighten the connection between the dynamical merger/interaction and the origin of E+A galaxies. [source]


    Models of the Cosmic Horseshoe gravitational lens J1004+4112

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2008
    S. Dye
    ABSTRACT We model the extremely massive and luminous lens galaxy in the Cosmic Horseshoe Einstein ring system J1004+4112, recently discovered in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We use the semilinear method of Warren & Dye, which pixelizes the source surface brightness distribution, to invert the Einstein ring for sets of parametrized lens models. Here, the method is refined by exploiting Bayesian inference to optimise adaptive pixelization of the source plane and to choose between three differently parametrized models: a singular isothermal ellipsoid, a power-law model and a Navarro, Frenk & White (NFW) profile. The most probable lens model is the power law with a volume mass density ,,r,1.960.02 and an axis ratio of ,0.8. The mass within the Einstein ring (i.e. within a cylinder with projected distance of ,30 kpc from the centre of the lens galaxy) is (5.02 0.09) 1012 M ,, and the mass-to-light ratio is ,30. Even though the lens lies in a group of galaxies, the preferred value of the external shear is almost zero. This makes the Cosmic Horseshoe unique amongst large separation lenses, as almost all the deflection comes from a single, very massive galaxy with little boost from the environment. [source]


    Constraints on the angular distribution of satellite galaxies about spiral hosts

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2008
    Jason H. Steffen
    ABSTRACT We present, using a novel technique, a study of the angular distribution of satellite galaxies around a sample of isolated, blue host galaxies selected from the sixth data release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. As a complement to previous studies, we subdivide the sample of galaxies into bins of differing inclination and use the systematic differences that would exist between the different bins as the basis for our approach. We parametrize the cumulative distribution function of satellite galaxies and apply a maximum likelihood, Monte Carlo technique to determine allowable distributions, which we show as an exclusion plot. We find that the allowed distributions of the satellites of spiral hosts are very nearly isotropic. We outline our formalism and our analysis and discuss how this technique may be refined for future studies and future surveys. [source]


    Two-Micron All-Sky Survey J01542930+0053266: a new eclipsing M dwarf binary system

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2008
    A. C. Becker
    ABSTRACT We report on Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) J01542930+0053266, a faint eclipsing system composed of two M dwarfs. The variability of this system was originally discovered during a pilot study of the 2MASS Calibration Point Source Working Data base. Additional photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey yields an eight-passband light curve from which we derive an orbital period of 2.639 0157 0.000 0016 d. Spectroscopic followup confirms our photometric classification of the system, which is likely composed of M0 and M1 dwarfs. Radial velocity measurements allow us to derive the masses (M1= 0.66 0.03 M,; M2= 0.62 0.03 M,) and radii (R1= 0.64 0.08 R,; R2= 0.61 0.09 R,) of the components, which are consistent with empirical mass,radius relationships for low-mass stars in binary systems. We perform Monte Carlo simulations of the light curves which allow us to uncover complicated degeneracies between the system parameters. Both stars show evidence of H, emission, something not common in early-type M dwarfs. This suggests that binarity may influence the magnetic activity properties of low-mass stars; activity in the binary may persist long after the dynamos in their isolated counterparts have decayed, yielding a new potential foreground of flaring activity for next generation variability surveys. [source]


    On the variability of quasars: a link between the Eddington ratio and optical variability?

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2008
    Brian C. Wilhite
    ABSTRACT Repeat scans by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) of a 278-deg2 stripe along the celestial equator have yielded an average of over 10 observations each for nearly 8000 spectroscopically confirmed quasars. Over 2500 of these quasars are in the redshift range such that the C iv, 1549 emission line is visible in the SDSS spectrum. Utilizing the width of these C iv lines and the luminosity of the nearby continuum, we estimate black hole masses for these objects. In an effort to isolate the effects of black hole mass and luminosity on the photometric variability of our data set, we create several subsamples by binning in these two physical parameters. By comparing the ensemble structure functions of the quasars in these bins, we are able to reproduce the well-known anticorrelation between luminosity and variability, now showing that this anticorrelation is independent of the black hole mass. In addition, we find a correlation between variability and the mass of the central black hole. By combining these two relations, we identify the Eddington ratio as a possible driver of quasar variability, most likely due to differences in accretion efficiency. [source]


    Post-common-envelope binaries from SDSS , I. 101 white dwarf main-sequence binaries with multiple Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopy

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2007
    A. Rebassa-Mansergas
    ABSTRACT We present a detailed analysis of 101 white dwarf main-sequence binaries (WDMS) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) for which multiple SDSS spectra are available. We detect significant radial velocity variations in 18 WDMS, identifying them as post-common-envelope binaries (PCEBs) or strong PCEB candidates. Strict upper limits to the orbital periods are calculated, ranging from 0.43 to 7880 d. Given the sparse temporal sampling and relatively low spectral resolution of the SDSS spectra, our results imply a PCEB fraction of ,15 per cent among the WDMS in the SDSS data base. Using a spectral decomposition/fitting technique we determined the white dwarf effective temperatures and surface gravities, masses and secondary star spectral types for all WDMS in our sample. Two independent distance estimates are obtained from the flux-scaling factors between the WDMS spectra, and the white dwarf models and main-sequence star templates, respectively. Approximately one-third of the systems in our sample show a significant discrepancy between the two distance estimates. In the majority of discrepant cases, the distance estimate based on the secondary star is too large. A possible explanation for this behaviour is that the secondary star spectral types that we determined from the SDSS spectra are systematically too early by one to two spectral classes. This behaviour could be explained by stellar activity, if covering a significant fraction of the star by cool dark spots will raise the temperature of the interspot regions. Finally, we discuss the selection effects of the WDMS sample provided by the SDSS project. [source]


    Are galaxies with active galactic nuclei a transition population?

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2007
    P. B. Westoby
    ABSTRACT We present the results of an analysis of a well-selected sample of galaxies with active and inactive galactic nuclei from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, in the range 0.01 < z < 0.16. The SDSS galaxy catalogue was split into two classes of active galaxies, Type 2 active galactic nuclei (AGN) and composites, and one set of inactive, star-forming/passive galaxies. For each active galaxy, two inactive control galaxies were selected by matching redshift, absolute magnitude, inclination, and radius. The sample of inactive galaxies naturally divides into a red and a blue sequence, while the vast majority of AGN hosts occur along the red sequence. In terms of H, equivalent width (EW), the population of composite galaxies peaks in the valley between the two modes, suggesting a transition population. However, this effect is not observed in other properties such as the colour,magnitude space or colour,concentration plane. Active galaxies are seen to be generally bulge-dominated systems, but with enhanced H, emission compared to inactive red-sequence galaxies. AGN and composites also occur in less dense environments than inactive red-sequence galaxies, implying that the fuelling of AGN is more restricted in high-density environments. These results are therefore inconsistent with theories in which AGN host galaxies are a ,transition' population. We also introduce a systematic 3D spectroscopic imaging survey, to quantify and compare the gaseous and stellar kinematics of a well-selected, distance-limited sample of up to 20 nearby Seyfert galaxies, and 20 inactive control galaxies with well-matched optical properties. The survey aims to search for dynamical triggers of nuclear activity and address outstanding controversies in optical/infrared imaging surveys. [source]


    The properties of Jovian Trojan asteroids listed in SDSS Moving Object Catalogue 3

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2007
    Gy. M. Szab
    ABSTRACT We analyse 1187 observations of about 860 unique candidate Jovian Trojan asteroids listed in the 3rd release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Moving Object Catalogue. The sample is complete at the faint end to r= 21.2 mag (apparent brightness) and H= 13.8 (absolute brightness, approximately corresponding to 10 km diameter). A subset of 297 detections of previously known Trojans were used to design and optimize a selection method based on observed angular velocity that resulted in the remaining objects. Using a sample of objects with known orbits, we estimate that the candidate sample contamination is about 3 per cent. The well-controlled selection effects, the sample size, depth and accurate five-band UV,IR photometry enabled several new findings and the placement of older results on a firmer statistical footing. We find that there are significantly more asteroids in the leading swarm (L4) than in the trailing swarm (L5): N(L4)/N(L5) = 1.6 0.1, independently of limiting object's size. The overall counts normalization suggests that there are about as many Jovians Trojans as there are main-belt asteroids down to the same size limit, in agreement with earlier estimates. We find that Trojan asteroids have a remarkably narrow colour distribution (root mean scatter of only ,0.05 mag) that is significantly different from the colour distribution of the main-belt asteroids. The colour of Trojan asteroids is correlated with their orbital inclination, in a similar way for both swarms, but appears uncorrelated with the object's size. We extrapolate the results presented here and estimate that the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will determine orbits, accurate colours and measure light curves in six photometric bandpasses for about 100 000 Jovian Trojan asteroids. [source]


    The clustering of narrow-line AGN in the local Universe

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2006
    Cheng Li
    ABSTRACT We have analysed the clustering of ,90 000 narrow-line active galactic nuclei (AGN) drawn from the Data Release 4 (DR4) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Our analysis addresses the following questions. (i) How do the locations of galaxies within the large-scale distribution of dark matter influence ongoing accretion on to their central black holes? (ii) Is AGN activity triggered by interactions or mergers between galaxies? We compute the cross-correlation between AGN and a reference sample of galaxies drawn from the DR4. We compare this to results for control samples of inactive galaxies matched simultaneously in redshift, stellar mass, concentration, velocity dispersion and mean stellar age, as measured by the 4000- break strength. We also compare near-neighbour counts around AGN and around the control galaxies. On scales larger than a few Mpc, AGN have almost the same clustering amplitude as the control sample. This demonstrates that AGN host galaxies and inactive control galaxies populate dark matter haloes of similar mass. On scales between 100 kpc and 1 Mpc, AGN are clustered more weakly than the control galaxies. We use mock catalogues constructed from high-resolution N -body simulations to interpret this antibias, showing that the observed effect is easily understood if AGN are preferentially located at the centres of their dark matter haloes. On scales less than 70 kpc, AGN cluster marginally more strongly than the control sample, but the effect is weak. When compared to the control sample, we find that only one in 100 AGN has an extra neighbour within a radius of 70 kpc. This excess increases as a function of the accretion rate on to the black hole, but it does not rise above the few per cent level. Although interactions between galaxies may be responsible for triggering nuclear activity in a minority of nearby AGN, some other mechanism is required to explain the activity seen in the majority of the objects in our sample. [source]


    Emission-line diagnostics of low-metallicity active galactic nuclei

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2006
    Brent A. Groves
    ABSTRACT Current emission-line-based estimates of the metallicity of active galactic nuclei (AGN) at both high and low redshifts indicate that AGN have predominantly solar-to-supersolar metallicities. This leads to the question: do low-metallicity AGN exist? In this paper, we use photoionization models to examine the effects of metallicity variations on the narrow emission-lines from an AGN. We explore a variety of emission-line diagnostics that are useful for identifying AGN with low-metallicity gas. We find that line ratios involving [N ii] are the most robust metallicity indicators in galaxies where the primary source of ionization is from the active nucleus. Ratios involving [S ii] and [O i] are strongly affected by uncertainties in modelling the density structure of the narrow-line clouds. To test our diagnostics, we turn to an analysis of AGN in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We find a clear trend in the relative strength of [N ii] with the mass of the AGN-host galaxy. The metallicity of the ISM is known to be correlated with stellar mass in star-forming galaxies; our results indicate that a similar trend exists for AGN. We also find that the best-fitting models for typical Seyfert narrow-line regions (NLRs) have supersolar abundances. Although there is a mass-dependent range of a factor of 2,3 in the NLR metallicities of the AGN in our sample, AGN with subsolar metallicities are very rare in the SDSS. Out of a sample of ,23 000 Seyfert 2 galaxies, we find only ,40 clear candidates for AGN with NLR abundances that are below solar. [source]


    galics, V: Low- and high-order clustering in mock Sloan Digital Sky Surveys

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2006
    Jrmy Blaizot
    ABSTRACT We use the galics hybrid model of galaxy formation to explore the nature of galaxy clustering in the local Universe. We bring the theoretical predictions of our model into the observational plane using the momaf software to build mock catalogues which mimic Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) observations. We measure low- and high-order angular clustering statistic from these mock catalogues, after selecting galaxies the same way as for observations, and compare them directly to estimates from the SDSS data. Note that we also present the first measurements of high-order statistics on the SDSS DR1. We find that our model is in general good agreement with observations in the scale/luminosity range where we can trust the predictions. This range is found to be limited (i) by the size of the dark matter simulation used , which introduces finite volume effects at large scales , and by the mass resolution of this simulation , which introduces incompleteness at apparent magnitudes fainter than r, 20. We then focus on the small-scale clustering properties of galaxies and investigate the behaviour of three different prescriptions for positioning galaxies within haloes of dark matter. We show that galaxies are poor tracers of either DM particles or DM substructures, within groups and clusters. Instead, SDSS data tells us that the distribution of galaxies lies somewhat in between these two populations. This confirms the general theoretical expectation from numerical simulations and semi-analytic modelling. [source]


    The alignment between the distribution of satellites and the orientation of their central galaxy

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2006
    Xiaohu Yang
    ABSTRACT We use galaxy groups selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to examine the alignment between the orientation of the central galaxy (defined as the brightest group member) and the distribution of satellite galaxies. By construction, we therefore only address the alignment on scales smaller than the halo virial radius. We find a highly significant alignment of satellites with the major axis of their central galaxy. This is in qualitative agreement with the recent study of Brainerd, but inconsistent with several previous studies who detected a preferential minor-axis alignment. The alignment strength in our sample is strongest between red central galaxies and red satellites. On the contrary, the satellite distribution in systems with a blue central galaxy is consistent with isotropic. We also find that the alignment strength is stronger in more massive haloes and at smaller projected radii from the central galaxy. In addition, there is a weak indication that fainter (relative to the central galaxy) satellites are more strongly aligned. We present a detailed comparison with previous studies, and discuss the implications of our findings for galaxy formation. [source]


    Halo model at its best: constraints on conditional luminosity functions from measured galaxy statistics

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2006
    Asantha Cooray
    ABSTRACT Using the conditional luminosity function (CLF; the luminosity distribution of galaxies in a dark matter halo) as the fundamental building block, we present an empirical model for the galaxy distribution. The model predictions are compared with the published luminosity function (LF) and clustering statistics from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) at low redshifts, galaxy correlation functions from the Classifying Objects by Medium-Band Observations 17 (COMBO-17) survey at a redshift of 0.6, the Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe 2 (DEEP2) survey at a redshift of unity, the Great Observatories Deep Origins Survey (GOODS) at a redshift around 3 and the Subaru/XMM,Newton Deep Field data at a redshift of 4. The comparison with statistical measurements allows us to constrain certain parameters related to analytical descriptions on the relation between a dark matter halo and its central galaxy luminosity, its satellite galaxy luminosity, and the fraction of early- and late-type galaxies of that halo. With the SDSS r -band LF at Mr < ,17, the lognormal scatter in the central galaxy luminosity at a given halo mass in the central galaxy,halo mass, Lc(M), relation is constrained to be 0.17+0.02,0.01, with 1, errors here and below. For the same galaxy sample, we find no evidence for a low-mass cut-off in the appearance of a single central galaxy in dark matter haloes, with the 68 per cent confidence level upper limit on the minimum mass of dark matter haloes to host a central galaxy, with luminosity Mr < ,17, is 2 1010 h,1 M,. If the total luminosity of a dark matter halo varies with halo mass as Lc(M) (M/Msat),s when M > Msat, using SDSS data, we find that Msat= (1.2+2.9,1.1) 1013 h,1 M, and power-law slope ,s= 0.56+0.19,0.17 for galaxies with Mr < ,17 at z < 0.1. At z, 0.6, the COMBO-17 data allows these parameters for MB < ,18 galaxies to be constrained as (3.3+4.9,3.0) 1013 h,1 M, and (0.62+0.33,0.27), respectively. At z, 4, Subaru measurements constrain these parameters for MB < ,18.5 galaxies as (4.12+5.90,4.08) 1012 h,1 M, and (0.55+0.32,0.35), respectively. The redshift evolution associated with these parameters can be described as a combination of the evolution associated with the halo mass function and the luminosity,halo mass relation. The single parameter well constrained by clustering measurements is the average of the total satellite galaxy luminosity corresponding to the dark matter halo distribution probed by the galaxy sample. For SDSS, ,Lsat,= (2.1+0.8,0.4) 1010 h,2 L,, while for GOODS at z, 3, ,Lsat, < 2 1011 h,2 L,. For SDSS, the fraction of galaxies that appear as satellites is 0.13+0.03,0.03, 0.11+0.05,0.02, 0.11+0.12,0.03 and 0.12+0.33,0.05 for galaxies with luminosities in the r, band from ,22 to ,21, ,21 to ,20, ,20 to ,19 and ,19 to ,18, respectively. In addition to constraints on central and satellite CLFs, we also determine model parameters of the analytical relations that describe the fraction of early- and late-type galaxies in dark matter haloes. We use our CLFs to establish the probability distribution of halo mass in which galaxies of a given luminosity could be found either at halo centres or as satellites. Finally, to help establish further properties of the galaxy distribution, we propose the measurement of cross-clustering between galaxies divided into two distinctly different luminosity bins. Our analysis shows how CLFs provide a stronger foundation to built-up analytical models of the galaxy distribution when compared with models based on the halo occupation number alone. [source]


    A ZZ Ceti white dwarf in SDSS J133941.11+484727.5

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2006
    B. T. Gnsicke
    ABSTRACT We present time-resolved spectroscopy and photometry of the cataclysmic variable (CV) SDSS J133941.11+484727.5 (SDSS 1339) which has been discovered in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 4. The orbital period determined from radial velocity studies is 82.524(24) min, close to the observed period minimum. The optical spectrum of SDSS 1339 is dominated to 90 per cent by emission from the white dwarf (WD). The spectrum can be successfully reproduced by a three-component model (white dwarf, disc, secondary) with TWD=12 500 K for a fixed log g= 8.0, d= 170 pc, and a spectral type of the secondary later than M8. The mass-transfer rate corresponding to the optical luminosity of the accretion disc is very low, , 1.7 10,13 M, yr,1. Optical photometry reveals a coherent variability at 641 s with an amplitude of 0.025 mag, which we interpret as non-radial pulsations of the white dwarf. In addition, a long-period photometric variation with a period of either 320 or 344 min and an amplitude of 0.025 mag is detected, which bears no apparent relation with the orbital period of the system. Similar long-period photometric signals have been found in the CVs SDSS J123813.73,033933.0, SDSS J204817.85,061044.8, GW Lib and FS Aur, but so far no working model for this behaviour is available. [source]


    Extracting star formation histories from medium-resolution galaxy spectra

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2006
    H. Mathis
    ABSTRACT We adapt an existing data compression algorithm, moped, to the extraction of median-likelihood star formation histories from medium-resolution galaxy spectra. By focusing on the high-pass components of galaxy spectra, we minimize potential uncertainties arising from the spectrophotometric calibration and intrinsic attenuation by dust. We validate our approach using model high-pass spectra of galaxies with different star formation histories covering the wavelength range 3650,8500 at a resolving power of ,2000. We show that the method can recover the full star formation histories of these models, without prior knowledge of the metallicity, to within an accuracy that depends sensitively on the signal-to-noise ratio. The investigation of the sensitivity of the flux at each wavelength to the mass fraction of stars of different ages allows us to identify new age-sensitive features in galaxy spectra. We also highlight a fundamental limitation in the recovery of the star formation histories of galaxies for which the optical signatures of intermediate-age stars are masked by those of younger and older stars. As an example of application, we use this method to derive average star formation histories from the highest-quality spectra of typical (in terms of their stellar mass), morphologically identified early- and late-type galaxies in the Early Data Release (EDR) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We find that, in agreement with the common expectation, early-type galaxies must have formed most of their stars over 8 Gyr ago, although a small fraction of the total stellar mass of these galaxies may be accounted for by stars with ages down to 4 Gyr. In contrast, late-type galaxies appear to have formed stars at a roughly constant rate. We also investigate the constraints set by the high-pass signal in the stacked spectra of a magnitude-limited sample of 20 623 SDSS-EDR galaxies on the global star formation history of the Universe and its distribution among galaxies in different mass ranges. We confirm that the stellar populations in the most massive galaxies today appear to have formed on average earlier than those in the least massive galaxies. Our results do not support the recent suggestion of a statistically significant peak in the star formation activity of the Universe at redshifts below unity, although such a peak is not ruled out. [source]


    Forming supermassive black holes by accreting dark and baryon matter

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2006
    Jian Hu
    ABSTRACT Given a large-scale mixture of self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) particles and baryon matter distributed in the early Universe, we advance here a two-phase accretion scenario for forming supermassive black holes (SMBHs) with masses around ,109 M, at high redshifts z(,6). The first phase is conceived to involve a rapid quasi-spherical and quasi-steady Bondi accretion of mainly SIDM particles embedded with baryon matter on to seed black holes (BHs) created at redshifts z, 30 by the first generation of massive Population III stars; this earlier phase rapidly gives birth to significantly enlarged seed BH masses of during z, 20,15, where ,0 is the cross-section per unit mass of SIDM particles and Cs is the velocity dispersion in the SIDM halo referred to as an effective ,sound speed'. The second phase of BH mass growth is envisaged to proceed primarily via baryon accretion, eventually leading to SMBH masses of MBH, 109 M,; such SMBHs may form either by z, 6 for a sustained accretion at the Eddington limit or later at lower z for sub-Eddington mean accretion rates. In between these two phases, there is a transitional yet sustained diffusively limited accretion of SIDM particles which in an eventual steady state would be much lower than the accretion rates of the two main phases. We intend to account for the reported detections of a few SMBHs at early epochs, e.g. Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) 1148+5251 and so forth, without necessarily resorting to either super-Eddington baryon accretion or very frequent BH merging processes. Only extremely massive dark SIDM haloes associated with rare peaks of density fluctuations in the early Universe may harbour such early SMBHs or quasars. Observational consequences are discussed. During the final stage of accumulating a SMBH mass, violent feedback in circumnuclear environs of a galactic nucleus leads to the central bulge formation and gives rise to the familiar empirical MBH,,b correlation inferred for nearby normal galaxies with ,b being the stellar velocity dispersion in the galactic bulge; in our scenario, the central SMBH formation precedes that of the galactic bulge. [source]


    The luminosity dependence of the type 1 active galactic nucleus fraction

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2005
    Chris Simpson
    ABSTRACT Using a complete, magnitude-limited sample of active galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we show that the fraction of broad-line (type 1) active galactic nuclei (AGNs) increases with luminosity of the isotropically emitted [O iii] narrow emission line. Our results are quantitatively in agreement with, and far less uncertain than, similar trends found from studies of X-ray and radio-selected active galaxies. While the correlation between broad-line fraction and luminosity is qualitatively consistent with the receding torus model, its slope is shallower and we therefore propose a modification to this model where the height of the torus increases slowly with AGN luminosity. We demonstrate that the faint-end slope of the AGN luminosity function steepens significantly when a correction for ,missing' type 2 objects is made, and that this can substantially affect the overall AGN luminosity density extrapolated from samples of more luminous objects. [source]


    The mass function of the stellar component of galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2004
    Benjamin Panter
    ABSTRACT Using the moped algorithm, we determine non-parametrically the stellar mass function of 96 545 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release One. By using the reconstructed spectrum due to starlight, we can eliminate contamination from either emission lines or active galactic nuclei components. Our results give excellent agreement with previous works, but extend their range by more than two decades in mass to 107.5,Ms/h,2 M,, 1012. We present both a standard Schechter fit and a fit modified to include an extra, high-mass contribution, possibly from cluster central dominant galaxies. The Schechter fit parameters are ,,= (7.8 0.1) 10,3 h3 Mpc,3, M,= (7.64 0.09) 1010 h,2 M, and ,=,1.159 0.008. Our sample also yields an estimate for the contribution from baryons in stars to the critical density of ,b*h= (2.39 0.08) 10,3, in good agreement with other indicators. Error bars are statistical and a Salpeter initial mass function is assumed throughout. We find no evolution of the mass function in the redshift range 0.05 < z < 0.34, indicating that almost all stars were already formed at z, 0.34 with little or no star formation activity since then and that the evolution seen in the luminosity function must be largely due to stellar fading. [source]


    Star formation in close pairs selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2004
    B. Nikolic
    ABSTRACT The effect of galaxy interactions on star formation has been investigated using Data Release One of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Both the imaging and spectroscopy data products have been used to construct a catalogue of nearest companions to a volume-limited (0.03 < z < 0.1) sample of galaxies drawn from the main galaxy sample of SDSS. Of the 13 973 galaxies in the volume-limited sample, we have identified 12 492 systems with companions at projected separations less than 300 kpc. Star formation rates for the volume-limited sample have been calculated from extinction and aperture corrected H, luminosities and, where available, IRAS data. Specific star formation rates were calculated by estimating galaxy masses from z -band luminosities, and r -band concentration indices were used as an indicator of morphological class. The mean specific star formation rate is significantly enhanced for projected separations less than 30 kpc. For late-type galaxies, the correlation extends out to projected separations of 300 kpc and is most pronounced in actively star-forming systems. The specific star formation rate is observed to decrease with increasing recessional velocity difference, but the magnitude of this effect is small compared to that associated with the projected separation. We also observe a tight relationship between the concentration index and pair separation; the mean concentration index is largest for pairs with separations of approximately 75 kpc and declines rapidly for separations smaller than this. This is interpreted as being due to the presence of tidally triggered nuclear starbursts in close pairs. Further, we find no dependence of star formation enhancement on the morphological type or mass of the companion galaxy. [source]


    Haloes around edge-on disc galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2004
    Stefano Zibetti
    ABSTRACT We present a statistical analysis of halo emission for a sample of 1047 edge-on disc galaxies imaged in five bands by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Stacking the homogeneously rescaled images of the galaxies, we can measure surface brightnesses as deep as ,r, 31 mag arcsec,2. The results strongly support the almost ubiquitous presence of stellar haloes around disc galaxies, whose spatial distribution is well described by a power law ,,r,3, in a moderately flattened spheroid (c/a, 0.6). The colour estimates in g,r and r,i, although uncertain, give a clear indication for extremely red stellar populations, hinting at old ages and/or non-negligible metal enrichment. These results support the idea of haloes being assembled via early merging of satellite galaxies. [source]


    Spatial and velocity clumping in a Sloan Digital Sky Survey blue horizontal branch star catalogue

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY: LETTERS (ELECTRONIC), Issue 1 2006
    L. Clewley
    ABSTRACT We present evidence for eight new clumps of blue horizontal branch stars discovered in a catalogue of these stars compiled from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey by Sirko et al. and published in 2004. Clumps are identified by selecting pairs of stars separated by distances ,2 kpc and with differences in galactocentric radial velocities <25 km s,1. Each clump contains four or more stars. Four of the clumps have supporting evidence: two of them also contain overdensities of RR Lyrae stars which makes their reality very likely. At least one of the clumps is likely to be associated with the tidal debris of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy. We emphasize that more accurate observations of the radial velocities or proper motions of the stars in the clumps, as well as the identification of other halo stars in these regions, are required to establish the reality of the remaining clumps. [source]