Bivariate galaxy luminosity functions in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

N. M. Ball, J. Loveday, R. J. Brunner, I. K. Baldry, J. Brinkmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bivariate luminosity functions (LFs) are computed for galaxies in the New York Value-Added Galaxy Catalogue, based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 4. The galaxy properties investigated are the morphological type, inverse concentration index, Sérsic index, absolute effective surface brightness (SB), reference frame colours, absolute radius, eClass spectral type, stellar mass and galaxy environment. The morphological sample is flux limited to galaxies with r < 15.9 and consists of 37047 classifications to an rms accuracy of ± half a class in the sequence E, S0, Sa, Sb, Sc, Sd, Im. These were assigned by an artificial neural network, based on a training set of 645 eyeball classifications. The other samples use r < 17.77 with a median redshift of z ∼ 0.08, and a limiting redshift of z < 0.15 to minimize the effects of evolution. Other cuts, for example in axis ratio, are made to minimize biases. A wealth of detail is seen, with clear variations between the LFs according to absolute magnitude and the second parameter. They are consistent with an early-type, bright, concentrated, red population and a late-type, faint, less concentrated, blue, star-forming population. This bimodality suggests two major underlying physical processes, which in agreement with previous authors we hypothesize to be merger and accretion, associated with the properties of bulges and discs, respectively. The bivariate luminosity-SB distribution is fit with the Chołoniewski function (a Schechter function in absolute magnitude and Gaussian in SB). The fit is found to be poor, as might be expected if there are two underlying processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-868
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Cosmology: Observations
  • Galaxies: Luminosity function, mass function
  • Galaxies: Statistics
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Methods: statistical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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