Posts Tagged digital sky survey

Recent Postings from digital sky survey

Finding Rare AGN: XMM-Newton and Chandra Observations of SDSS Stripe 82

We have analyzed the {\it XMM-Newton} and {\it Chandra} data overlapping $\sim$16.5 deg$^2$ of Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82, including $\sim$4.6 deg$^2$ of proprietary {\it XMM-Newton} data that we present here. In total, 3362 unique X-ray sources are detected at high significance. We derive the {\it XMM-Newton} number counts and compare them with our previously reported {\it Chandra} Log$N$-Log$S$ relations and other X-ray surveys. The Stripe 82 X-ray source lists have been matched to multi-wavelength catalogs using a maximum likelihood estimator algorithm. We discovered the highest redshift ($z=5.86$) quasar yet identified in an X-ray survey. We find 2.5 times more high luminosity (L$_x \geq 10^{45}$ erg s$^{-1}$) AGN than the smaller area {\it Chandra} and {\it XMM-Newton} survey of COSMOS and 1.3 times as many identified by XBo\"otes. Comparing the high luminosity AGN we have identified with those predicted by population synthesis models, our results suggest that this AGN population is a more important component of cosmic black hole growth than previously appreciated. Approximately a third of the X-ray sources not detected in the optical are identified in the infrared, making them candidates for the elusive population of obscured high luminosity AGN in the early universe.

Probing the Circumgalactic Medium at High-Redshift Using Composite BOSS Spectra of Strong Lyman-alpha Forest Absorbers

We present composite spectra constructed from a sample of 242,150 Lyman-alpha (Lya) forest absorbers at redshifts 2.4<z<3.1 identified in quasar spectra from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as part of Data Release 9 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. We select forest absorbers by their flux in bins 138 km/s wide (approximately the size of the BOSS resolution element). We split these absorbers into five samples spanning the range of flux -0.05 < F<0.45. Tests on a smaller sample of high-resolution spectra show that our three strongest absorption bins would probe circumgalactic regions (projected separation < 300 proper kpc and |Delta v| < 300km/s) in about 60% of cases for very high signal-to-noise ratio. Within this subset, weakening Lya absorption is associated with decreasing purity of circumgalactic selection once BOSS noise is included. Our weaker two Lya absorption samples are dominated by the intergalactic medium. We present composite spectra of these samples and a catalogue of measured absorption features from HI and 13 metal ionization species, all of which we make available to the community. We compare measurements of seven Lyman series transitions in our composite spectra to single line models and obtain further constraints from their associated excess Lyman limit opacity. This analysis provides results consistent with column densities over the range 14.4 <~ Log (N_HI) <~ 16.45. We compare our measurements of metal absorption to a variety of simple single-line, single-phase models for a preliminary interpretation. Our results imply clumping on scales down to ~30 pc and near-solar metallicities in the circumgalactic samples, while high-ionization metal absorption consistent with typical IGM densities and metallicities is visible in all samples.

A Precision Multi-Band Two-Epoch Photometric Catalog of 44 Million Sources in the Northern Sky from Combination of the USNO-B and Sloan Digital Sky Survey Catalogs

A key science driver for the next generation of wide-field optical and radio surveys is the exploration of the time variable sky. These surveys will have unprecedented sensitivity and areal coverage, but will be limited in their ability to detect variability on time scales longer than the lifetime of the surveys. We present a new precision, multi-epoch photometric catalog that spans 60 years by combining the USNO-B and SDSS Data Release 9 catalogs. We recalibrate the photometry of the original USNO-B catalog and create a catalog with two epochs of photometry in up to five different bands for 43,647,887 optical point sources that lie in the DR9 footprint of the northern sky. The recalibrated objects span a magnitude range 14 < m < 20 and are accurate to \approx 0.1 mag. We minimize the presence of spurious objects and those with inaccurate magnitudes by identifying and removing several sources of systematic errors in the two originating catalogs, with a focus on spurious objects that exhibit large apparent magnitude variations. After accounting for these effects, we find \approx 250,000 stars and quasars that show significant (> 4\sigma) changes in brightness between the USNO-B and SDSS DR9 epochs. We discuss the historical value of the catalog and its application to the study of long time-scale, large amplitude variable stars and quasars.

Revisiting the Dichotomy of Early-type Galaxies

We study the relationship among isophotal shapes, central light profiles and kinematic properties of early-type galaxies (ETGs) based on a compiled sample of 184 ETGs. These sample galaxies are included in the Data Release 8 of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS DR8) and have central light profiles and kinematic properties available from the literature, which were measured based on Hubble Space Telescope ({\it HST}) and \atlas\ integral-field spectrograph (IFS) observations, respectively. We find that there is only a weak correlation between the isophotal shape ($a_{4}/a$) and the central light profile (within $1\,\rm kpc$) of ETGs. About two-fifths of "core" galaxies have disky isophotes, while one-third of "power-law" galaxies are boxy deviated. Our statistical results also show that there are weak correlations between galaxy luminosity and dynamical mass with $a_{4}/a$, but such correlations are tighter with central light profile. Moreover, no clear link has been found between the isophotal shape and the S\’ ersic index. Comparisons show that there are similar correlations between $a_{4}/a$ and ellipticity and between $a_{4}/a$ and specific angular momentum $\lambda_{R_e/2}$ for "power-law" ETGs, but there are no such correlations for "core" ETGs. Therefore, we speculate that the bimodal classifications for ETGs are not as simple as previously thought, though we also find that the most deviated disky ETGs are "power-law", more elongated and fast rotators.

Broad Absorption Line Variability on Multi-Year Timescales in a Large Quasar Sample

We present a detailed investigation of the variability of 428 C IV and 235 Si IV Broad Absorption Line (BAL) troughs identified in multi-epoch observations of 291 quasars by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-I/II/III. These observations primarily sample rest-frame timescales of 1-3 yr over which significant rearrangement of the BAL wind is expected. We derive a number of observational results on, e.g., the frequency of BAL variability, the velocity range over which BAL variability occurs, the primary observed form of BAL-trough variability, the dependence of BAL variability upon timescale, the frequency of BAL strengthening vs. weakening, correlations between BAL variability and BAL-trough profiles, relations between C IV and Si IV BAL variability, coordinated multi-trough variability, and BAL variations as a function of quasar properties. We assess implications of these observational results for quasar winds. Our results support models where most BAL absorption is formed within an order-of-magnitude of the wind-launching radius, although a significant minority of BAL troughs may arise on larger scales. We estimate an average lifetime for a BAL trough along our line-of-sight of a few thousand years. BAL disappearance and emergence events appear to be extremes of general BAL variability, rather than being qualitatively distinct phenomena. We derive the parameters of a random-walk model for BAL EW variability, finding that this model can acceptably describe some key aspects of EW variability. The coordinated trough variability of BAL quasars with multiple troughs suggests that changes in "shielding gas" may play a significant role in driving general BAL variability.

X-Shooter GTO: evidence for a population of extremely metal-poor, alpha-poor stars

The extremely metal-poor stars are the direct descendants of the first generation stars. They carry the chemical signature of the pristine Universe at the time they formed, shortly after the Big Bang. We aim to derive information about extremely metal-poor stars from their observed spectra. Four extremely metal-poor stars were selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and observed during the guaranteed observing time of X-Shooter. The X-Shooter spectra were analysed using an automatic code, MyGIsFOS, which is based on a traditional analysis method. It makes use of a synthetic grid computed from one-dimensional, plane-parallel, hydrostatic model atmospheres. The low metallicity derived from the SDSS spectra is confirmed here. Two kinds of stars are found. Two stars are confirmed to be extremely metal-poor, with no evidence of any enhancement in carbon. The two other stars are strongly enhanced in carbon. We could not derive iron abundance for one of them, while [Ca/H] is below -4.5. Two of the stars are members of the rare population of extremely metal-poor stars low in alpha elements.

Infrared Laboratory Oscillator Strengths of Fe I in the H-Band

We report experimental oscillator strengths for 28 infrared Fe I transitions, for which no previous experimental values exist. These transitions were selected to address an urgent need for oscillator strengths of lines in the H-band (between 1.4 um and 1.7 um) required for the analysis of spectra obtained from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) Apache Point Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE). Upper limits have been placed on the oscillator strengths of an additional 7 transitions, predicted to be significant by published semi-empirical calculations, but not observed to be so.

Outflow and hot dust emission in high redshift quasars [Replacement]

Correlations of hot dust emission with outflow properties are investigated, based on a large z~2 non-broad absorption lines quasar sample built from the Wide-field Infrared Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data releases. We use the near infrared slope and the infrared to UV luminosity ratio to indicate the hot dust emission relative to the emission from the accretion disk. In our luminous quasars, these hot dust emission indicators are almost independent of the fundamental parameters, such as luminosity, Eddington ratio and black hole mass, but moderately dependent on the blueshift and asymmetry index (BAI) and full width at half-maximum (FWHM) of CIV lines. Interestingly, the latter two correlations dramatically strengthen with increasing Eddington ratio. We suggest that, in high Eddington ratio quasars, CIV regions are dominated by outflows so the BAI and FWHM(CIV) can reliably reflect the general properties and velocity of outflows, respectively. While in low Eddington ratio quasars, CIV lines are primarily emitted by virialized gas so the BAI and FWHM(CIV) become less sensitive to outflows. Therefore, the correlations for the highest Eddington ratio quasars are more likely to represent the true dependence of hot dust emission on outflows and the correlations for the entire sample are significantly diluted by the low Eddington ratio quasars. Our results show that an outflow with a large BAI or velocity can double the hot dust emission on average. We suggest that outflows either contain hot dust in themselves or interact with the dusty interstellar medium or torus.

Outflow and hot dust emission in high redshift quasars

Correlations of hot dust emission with outflow properties are investigated, based on a large z~2 non-BAL quasar sample built from the Wide-field Infrared Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data releases. We use the near infrared (NIR) slope and the infrared to UV luminosity ratio to indicate the hot dust emission relative to the emission from accretion disk. In our luminous quasars, these hot dust emission indicators are almost independent of the fundamental parameters, such as luminosity, Eddington ratio and black hole mass, but moderately dependent on the blueshift and asymmetry index (BAI) and FWHM of CIV lines. Interestingly, the latter two correlations dramatically strengthen with increasing Eddington ratio. We suggest that, in high Eddington ratio quasars, CIV regions are dominated by outflows so BAI and FWHM(CIV) can reliably reflect the general property and velocity of outflows, respectively. While in low Eddington ratio quasars, CIV lines are primarily emitted by virialized gas so BAI and FWHM(CIV) become less sensitive to outflows. Therefore, the correlations for the highest Eddington ratio quasars are more likely to represent the true dependence of hot dust emission on outflows and the correlations for the entire sample are significantly diluted by the low Eddington ratio quasars. Our results show that an outflow with large BAI or velocity can double the hot dust emission on average. We suggest that outflows either contain hot dust in themselves or interact with dusty interstellar medium or torus.

Topology of Luminous Red Galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We present measurements of the genus topology of luminous red galaxies (LRGs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7 catalog, with unprecedented statistical significance. To estimate the uncertainties in the measured genus, we construct 81 mock SDSS LRG surveys along the past light cone from the Horizon Run 3, one of the largest N-body simulations to date that evolved 7210^3 particles in a 10815 Mpc/h size box. After carefully modeling and removing all known systematic effects due to finite pixel size, survey boundary, radial and angular selection functions, shot noise and galaxy biasing, we find the observed genus amplitude to reach 272 at 22 Mpc/h smoothing scale with an uncertainty of 4.2%; the estimated error fully incorporates cosmic variance. This is the most accurate constraint of the genus amplitude to date, which significantly improves on our previous results. In particular, the shape of the genus curve agrees very well with the mean topology of the SDSS LRG mock surveys in the LCDM universe. However, comparison with simulations also shows small deviations of the observed genus curve from the theoretical expectation for Gaussian initial conditions. While these discrepancies are mainly driven by known systematic effects such as those of shot noise and redshift-space distortions, they do contain important cosmological information on the physical effects connected with galaxy formation, gravitational evolution and primordial non-Gaussianity. We address here the key role played by systematics on the genus curve, and show how to accurately correct for their effects to recover the topology of the underlying matter. In a forthcoming paper, we provide an interpretation of those deviations in the context of the local model of non-Gaussianity.

Pitch angle variations in spiral galaxies

We present a detailed photometric study and measurements of spiral arm pitch angles for a sample of 50 non-barred or weakly barred grand-design spiral galaxies selected from Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In order to find pitch angles, we used a new method based on the window Fourier analysis of their images. This method allows us not only to infer the average pitch angle, but to obtain its value as a function of galactocentric radius as well. Our main results are as follows: (1) Spiral arms of most galaxies cannot be described by a single value of the pitch angle. About 2/3 of galaxies demonstrate pitch angle variations exceeding 20%. In most galaxies in the sample their pitch angle decreases by increasing the distance from the centre. (2) Pitch angle variations correlate with the properties of galaxies – with the shape of the surface brightness distribution (envelope-type or truncated disc), and with the sign of stellar disc colour gradient. (3) More luminous and bright bulges produce more tightly wound spiral arms, that is in agreement with current models for spiral arms formation.

Bad pixel modified interpolation for astronomical images

We present a new method of interpolation for the pixel brightness estimation in astronomical images. Our new method is simple and easily implementable. We show the comparison of this method with the widely used linear interpolation and other interpolation algorithms using one thousand astronomical images obtained from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The comparison shows that our method improves bad pixels brightness estimation with four times lower mean error than the presently most popular linear interpolation and has a better performance than any other examined method. The presented idea is flexible and can be also applied to presently used and future interpolation methods. The proposed method is especially useful for large sky surveys image reduction but can be also applied to single image correction.

Alignments of galaxies within cosmic filaments from SDSS DR7

Using a sample of galaxy groups selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (SDSS DR7), we examine the alignment between the orientation of galaxies and their surrounding large scale structure in the context of the cosmic web. The latter is quantified using the large-scale tidal field, reconstructed from the data using galaxy groups above a certain mass threshold. We find that the major axes of galaxies in filaments tend to be preferentially aligned with the directions of the filaments, while galaxies in sheets have their major axes preferentially aligned parallel to the plane of the sheets. The strength of this alignment signal is strongest for red, central galaxies, and in good agreement with that of dark matter halos in N-body simulations. This suggests that red, central galaxies are well aligned with their host halos, in quantitative agreement with previous studies based on the spatial distribution of satellite galaxies. There is a luminosity and mass dependence that brighter and more massive galaxies in filaments and sheets have stronger alignment signals. We also find that the orientation of galaxies is aligned with the eigenvector associated with the smallest eigenvalue of the tidal tensor. These observational results provide direct evidence that galaxy formation is affected by large-scale environments, and strongly suggests that galaxies are aligned with each other over scales comparable to those of sheets and filaments in the cosmic web.

The Mid-infrared Emission of Narrow-Line Active Galactic Nuclei: Star-Formation, Nuclear Activity and two populations revealed by WISE

We explore the nature of the long-wavelength mid-infrared (MIR) emission of a sample of 13000 local Type II (narrow-line) Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) using 12 and 22 micron photometry from the WISE all-sky survey. In combination with FIRST 1.4 GHz measurements, we show that AGNs divide into two relatively distinct populations or "branches" in the plane of MIR and radio luminosity. Seyfert galaxies lie almost exclusively on a MIR-bright branch (Branch A), while low-ionization nuclear emission line galaxies (LINERs) are split evenly into Branch A and the MIR-faint Branch B. We devise various tests to constrain the processes that define the branches, including a comparison to the properties of pure star-forming (SF) inactive galaxies on the MIR-Radio plane. We demonstrate that the total MIR emission of objects on Branch A, including most Seyfert galaxies, is governed primarily by host star-formation, with about 15% of the 22 micron luminosity coming from AGN-heated dust. This implies that on-going dusty star-formation is a general property of Seyfert host galaxies. We show that the 12 micron broad-band luminosity of AGNs on Branch A is suppressed with respect to star-forming galaxies, possibly due to the destruction of PAHs or deeper 10 microns Si absorption in AGNs. We uncover a correlation between the MIR luminosity and [O III] luminosity in AGNs. This suggests a relationship between the SFR and nuclear luminosity in the AGN population, but we caution on the importance of selection effects inherent to such AGN-dominated emission-line galaxies in driving such a correlation. We highlight the MIR-radio plane as a useful tool in comparative studies of SF and nuclear activity in AGN.

Characterizing unknown systematics in large scale structure surveys

Photometric large scale structure (LSS) surveys probe the largest volumes in the Universe, but are inevitably limited by systematic uncertainties. Imperfect photometric calibration leads to biases in our measurements of the density fields of LSS tracers such as galaxies and quasars, and as a result in cosmological parameter estimation. Earlier studies have proposed using cross-correlations between different redshift slices or cross-correlations between different surveys to reduce the effects of such systematics. In this paper we develop a method to characterize unknown systematics. We demonstrate that while we do not have sufficient information to correct for unknown systematics in the data, we can obtain an estimate of their magnitude. We define a parameter to estimate contamination from unknown systematics using cross-correlations between different redshift slices and propose discarding bins in the angular power spectrum that lie outside a certain contamination tolerance level. We show that this method improves estimates of the bias using simulated data and further apply it to photometric luminous red galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as a case study.

Discovery of Nine Intermediate Redshift Compact Quiescent Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We identify nine galaxies with dynamical masses of M_dyn>10^10 M_sol as photometric point sources, but with redshifts between z=0.2 and z=0.6, in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) spectro-photometric database. All nine galaxies have archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images. Surface brightness profile fitting confirms that all nine galaxies are extremely compact (with circularized half-light radii between 0.4 and 6.6 kpc and the median value of 0.74 kpc) for their velocity dispersion (110<sigma<340 km/s; median sigma=178 km/s). From the SDSS spectra, three systems are dominated by very young stars; the other six are older than ~1 Gyr (two are E+A galaxies). The three young galaxies have disturbed morphologies and the older systems have smooth profiles consistent with a single Sersic function. All nine lie below the z~0 velocity dispersion-half-light radius relation. The most massive system – SDSSJ123657.44+631115.4 – lies right within the locus for massive compact z>1 galaxies and the other eight objects follow the high-redshift dynamical size-mass relation.

Classifying Supernovae Using Only Galaxy Data

We present a new method for probabilistically classifying supernovae (SNe) without using SN spectral or photometric data. Unlike all previous studies to classify SNe without spectra, this technique does not use any SN photometry. Instead, the method relies on host-galaxy data. We build upon the well-known correlations between SN classes and host-galaxy properties, specifically that core-collapse SNe rarely occur in red, luminous, or early-type galaxies. Using the nearly spectroscopically complete Lick Observatory Supernova Search sample of SNe, we determine SN fractions as a function of host-galaxy properties. Using these data as inputs, we construct a Bayesian method for determining the probability that a SN is of a particular class. This method improves a common classification figure of merit by a factor of >2, comparable to the best light-curve classification techniques. Of the galaxy properties examined, morphology provides the most discriminating information. We further validate this method using SN samples from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Palomar Transient Factory. We demonstrate that this method has wide-ranging applications, including separating different subclasses of SNe and determining the probability that a SN is of a particular class before photometry or even spectra can. Since this method uses completely independent data from light-curve techniques, there is potential to further improve the overall purity and completeness of SN samples and to test systematic biases of the light-curve techniques. Further enhancements to the host-galaxy method, including additional host-galaxy properties, combination with light-curve methods, and hybrid methods should further improve the quality of SN samples from past, current, and future transient surveys.

The Stellar Number Density Distribution in the Local Solar Neighborhood is North-South Asymmetric

We study the number density distribution of a sample of K and M dwarf stars, matched North and South of the Galactic plane within a distance of 2 kpc from the sun, using observations from the Ninth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We determine distances using the photometric parallax method, and in this context systematic effects exist which could potentially impact the determination of the number density profile with height from the Galactic plane — and ultimately affect a number density North-South asymmetry. They include: (i) the calibration of the various photometric parallax relations, (ii) the ability to separate dwarfs from giants in our sample, (iii) the role of stellar population differences such as age and metallicity, (iv) the ability to determine the offset of the sun from the Galactic plane, and (v) the correction for reddening from dust in the Galactic plane, though our stars are at high Galactic latitudes. We find the various analyzed systematic effects to have a negligible impact on our observed asymmetry, and using a new and larger sample of stars we confirm and refine the earlier discovery of Widrow et al. of a significant Galactic North-South asymmetry in the stellar number density distribution.

Search for carbon stars and DZ white dwarfs in SDSS spectra survey

With more and more sky survey programs developed, overwhelming stellar spectra have been obtained and up to TB or PB level. So it is quite necessary to search for some type of objects or to build some catalogues completely for special stars using automatic methods. We used label propagation algorithm which is widely used in the area of information retrieval to search for carbon stars and cool DZ white dwarfs from the Sloan Digital Sky survey (SDSS) DR8. Performance of algorithm in searching for carbon stars stars was discussed by comparing with most complete catalogue to date and more carbon stars including 268 Carbon stars, 207 carbon star candidates and 11 composition spectrum systems consisting of a white dwarf and a carbon star were identified . In addition the algorithm was used to search for rare DZ white dwarfs and 30 new DZ white dwarfs were found, 13 of which might be around or bellow 6500K and 4 of which might be bellow 6000K.

Spectroscopic analysis of DA white dwarfs with 3D model atmospheres

We present the first grid of mean three-dimensional (3D) spectra for pure-hydrogen (DA) white dwarfs based on 3D model atmospheres. We use CO5BOLD radiation-hydrodynamics 3D simulations instead of the mixing-length theory for the treatment of convection. The simulations cover the effective temperature range of 6000 < Teff (K) < 15,000 and the surface gravity range of 7 < log g < 9 where the large majority of DAs with a convective atmosphere are located. We rely on horizontally averaged 3D structures (over constant Rosseland optical depth) to compute <3D> spectra. It is demonstrated that our <3D> spectra can be smoothly connected to their 1D counterparts at higher and lower Teff where the 3D effects are small. Analytical functions are provided in order to convert spectroscopically determined 1D effective temperatures and surface gravities to 3D atmospheric parameters. We apply our improved models to well studied spectroscopic data sets from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the White Dwarf Catalog. We confirm that the so-called high-log g problem is not present when employing <3D> spectra and that the issue was caused by inaccuracies in the 1D mixing-length approach. The white dwarfs with a radiative and a convective atmosphere have derived mean masses that are the same within ~0.01 Msun, in much better agreement with our understanding of stellar evolution. Furthermore, the 3D atmospheric parameters are in better agreement with independent Teff and log g values from photometric and parallax measurements.

Gravitational Lens Models Based on Submillimeter Array Imaging of Herschel-selected Strongly Lensed Sub-millimeter Galaxies at z>1.5

Strong gravitational lenses are now being routinely discovered in wide-field surveys at (sub-)mm wavelengths. We present Submillimeter Array (SMA) high-resolution imaging and Gemini-S and MMT optical spectroscopy of strong lens candidates discovered in the two widest extragalactic surveys conducted by the Herschel Space Observatory: the Herschel-Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey (H-ATLAS) and the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey (HerMES). From a sample of 30 Herschel sources with S_500>100 mJy, 21 are strongly lensed (multiply imaged) and 4 are moderately lensed (singly imaged). The remainder require additional data to determine their lensing status, implying a lensing selection efficiency of >83%. We apply a visibility-plane lens modeling technique to the SMA data to recover information about the masses of the lenses as well as the intrinsic (unlensed) sizes (r_half) and far-infrared luminosities (L_FIR) of the lensed sub-millimeter galaxies (SMGs). The sample of lenses comprises primarily isolated massive galaxies, but includes some groups and clusters as well. Several of the lenses are located at z_lens>0.7, a redshift regime that is inaccessible to lens searches based on Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopy. The lensed SMGs are amplified by factors that are significantly below statistical model predictions given the 500um flux densities of our sample. We speculate that this may reflect a deficiency in our understanding of the intrinsic sizes and luminosities of the brightest SMGs. The lensed SMGs span nearly one decade in L_FIR (median L_FIR=7.9×10^12L_sun) and two decades in FIR luminosity surface density (median Sigma_FIR=6.0×10^11 L_sun kpc^-2). The strong lenses in this sample and others identified via (sub-)mm surveys will provide a wealth of information regarding the astrophysics of galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range in redshift.

Host Galaxy Spectra and Consequences for SN Typing From The SDSS SN Survey

We present the spectroscopy from 5254 galaxies that hosted supernovae (SNe) or other transient events in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey II (SDSS-II). Obtained during SDSS-I, SDSS-II, and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), this sample represents the largest systematic, unbiased, magnitude limited spectroscopic survey of supernova (SN) host galaxies. Using the host galaxy redshifts, we test the impact of photometric SN classification based on SDSS imaging data with and without using spectroscopic redshifts of the host galaxies. Following our suggested scheme, there are a total of 1166 photometrically classified SNe Ia when using a flat redshift prior and 1126 SNe Ia when the host spectroscopic redshift is assumed. For 1024 (87.8%) candidates classified as likely SNe Ia without redshift information, we find that the classification is unchanged when adding the host galaxy redshift. Using photometry from SDSS imaging data and the host galaxy spectra, we also report host galaxy properties for use in future nalysis of SN astrophysics. Finally, we investigate the differences in the interpretation of the light curve properties with and without knowledge of the redshift. When using the SALT2 light curve fitter, we find a 21% increase in the number of fits that converge when using the spectroscopic redshift. Without host galaxy redshifts, we find that SALT2 light curve fits are systematically biased towards lower photometric redshift estimates and redder colors in the limit of low signal-to-noise data. The general improvements in performance of the light curve fitter and the increased diversity of the host galaxy sample highlights the importance of host galaxy spectroscopy for current photometric SN surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey and future surveys such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

The 2XMMi/SDSS Galaxy Cluster Survey II. The optically confirmed cluster sample and the L_X-T relation

We compile a sample of X-ray-selected galaxy groups and clusters from the XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue (2XMMi-DR3) with optical confirmation and redshift measurement from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The X-ray cluster candidates were selected from the 2XMMi-DR3 catalogue in the footprint of the SDSS-DR7. We developed a finding algorithm to search for overdensities of galaxies at the positions of the X-ray cluster candidates in the photometric redshift space and to measure the redshifts of the clusters from the SDSS data. The detection algorithm provides the photometric redshift of 530 galaxy clusters. Of these, 310 clusters have a spectroscopic redshift for at least one member galaxy. About 75 percent of the optically confirmed cluster sample are newly discovered X-ray clusters. Moreover, 301 systems are known as optically selected clusters in the literature while the remainder are new discoveries in X-ray and optical bands. The optically confirmed cluster sample spans a wide redshift range 0.03-0.70 (median z=0.32). In this paper, we present the catalogue of X-ray-selected galaxy groups and clusters from the 2XMMi/SDSS galaxy cluster survey. The catalogue has two subsamples: (i) a cluster sample comprising 345 objects with their X-ray spectroscopic temperature and flux from the spectral fitting, and (ii) a cluster sample consisting of 185 systems with their X-ray flux from the 2XMMi-DR3 catalogue, because their X-ray data are insufficient for spectral fitting. The updated L_X-T relation of the current sample with X-ray spectroscopic parameters is presented. We see no evidence for evolution in the slope and intrinsic scatter of the L_X-T relation with redshift when excluding the low-luminosity groups.

Update on the Cetus Polar Stream and its Progenitor

We trace the Cetus Polar Stream (CPS) with blue horizontal branch (BHB) and red giant stars (RGBs) from Data Release 8 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS DR8). Using a larger dataset than was available previously, we are able to refine the measured distance and velocity to this tidal debris star stream in the south Galactic cap. Assuming the tidal debris traces the progenitor’s orbit, we fit an orbit to the CPS and find that the stream is confined between ~24-36 kpc on a rather polar orbit inclined 87 degrees to the Galactic plane. The eccentricity of the orbit is 0.20, and the period ~700 Myr. If we instead matched N-body simulations to the observed tidal debris, these orbital parameters would change by 10% or less. The CPS stars travel in the opposite direction to those from the Sagittarius tidal stream in the same region of the sky. Through N-body models of satellites on the best-fitting orbit, and assuming that mass follows light, we show that the stream width, line-of-sight depth, and velocity dispersion imply a progenitor of at least 10^8 solar masses. However, the density of stars along the stream requires either a disruption time on the order of one orbit, or a stellar population that is more centrally concentrated than the dark matter. We suggest that an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy progenitor could reproduce a large stream width and velocity dispersion without requiring a very recent deflection of the progenitor into its current orbit. We find that most Cetus stars have metallicities of -2.5 < [Fe/H] < -2.0, similar to the observed metallicities of the ultra-faint dwarfs. Our simulations suggest that the parameters of the dwarf galaxy progenitors, including their dark matter content, could be constrained by observations of their tidal tails through comparison of the debris with N-body simulations.

Cosmological Information in the Intrinsic Alignments of Luminous Red Galaxies

The intrinsic alignments of galaxies are usually regarded as a contaminant to weak gravitational lensing observables. The alignment of Luminous Red Galaxies, detected unambiguously in observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, can be reproduced by the linear tidal alignment model of Hirata & Seljak (2004) on large scales. In this work, we explore the cosmological information encoded in the intrinsic alignments of red galaxies. We make forecasts for the ability of current and future spectroscopic surveys to constrain local primordial non-Gaussianity and Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) in the cross-correlation function of intrinsic alignments and the galaxy density field. For the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, we find that the BAO signal in the intrinsic alignments is marginally significant with a signal-to-noise ratio of 1.8 and 2.2 with the current LOWZ and CMASS samples of galaxies, respectively, and increasing to 2.3 and 2.7 once the survey is completed. For the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument and for a spectroscopic survey following the EUCLID redshift selection function, we find signal-to-noise ratios of 12 and 15, respectively. Local type primordial non-Gaussianity, parametrized by fNL = 10, is only marginally significant in the intrinsic alignments signal with signal-to-noise ratios < 2 for the three surveys considered.

Precious Metals in SDSS Quasar Spectra II: Tracking the Evolution of Strong, 0.4 < z < 2.3 MgII Absorbers with Thousands of Systems

We have performed an analysis of over 34,000 MgII doublets at 0.36 < z < 2.29 in Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data-Release 7 quasar spectra; the catalog, advanced data products, and tools for analysis are publicly available. The catalog was divided into 14 small redshift bins with roughly 2,500 doublets in each, and from Monte-Carlo simulations, we estimate 50% completeness at rest equivalent width W_r ~ 0.8 \AA. The equivalent-width frequency distribution is described well by an exponential model at all redshifts, and the distribution becomes flatter with increasing redshift, i.e., there are more strong systems relative to weak ones. Direct comparison with previous SDSS MgII surveys reveal that we recover at least 70% of the doublets in these other catalogs, in addition to detecting thousands of new systems. We discuss how these surveys come by their different results, which qualitatively agree but, due to the very small uncertainties, differ by a statistically significant amount. The estimated physical cross-section of MgII-absorbing galaxy halos increased three-fold, approximately, from z = 0.4 –> 2.3, while the W_r >= 1 \AA absorber line density grew, dN_MgII/dX, by roughly 45%. Finally, we explore the different evolution of various absorber populations—damped Lyman-alpha absorbers, Lyman-limit systems, strong CIV absorbers, and strong and weaker MgII systems—across cosmic time (0 < z < 6).

Measuring Galaxy Velocity Dispersions with Hectospec

We describe a robust technique based on the ULySS IDL code for measuring velocity dispersions of galaxies observed with the MMT’s fiber-fed spectrograph, Hectospec. This procedure is applicable to all Hectospec spectra having a signal-to-noise >5 and weak emission lines. We estimate the internal error in the Hectospec velocity dispersion measurements by comparing duplicate measurements of 171 galaxies. For a sample of 984 galaxies with a median z=0.10, we compare velocity dispersions measured by Hectospec through a 1.5 arcsec diameter optical fiber with those measured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Baryon Oscillation Spectral Survey (BOSS) through 3 arcsec and 2 arcsec diameter optical fibers, respectively. The systematic differences between the Hectospec and the SDSS/BOSS measurements are <7% for velocity dispersions between 100 and 300 km/s, the differences are no larger than the differences among the three BOSS velocity dispersion reductions. We analyze the scatter about the fundamental plane and find no significant redshift dependent systematics in our velocity dispersion measurements to z~0.6. This analysis also confirms our estimation of the measurement errors. In one hour in good conditions, we demonstrate that we achieve 30 km/s velocity dispersion errors for galaxies with an SDSS r fiber magnitude of 21.

White dwarf-main sequence binaries identified from the LAMOST pilot survey

We present a set of white dwarf-main sequence (WDMS) binaries identified spectroscopically from the Large sky Area Multi-Object fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST, also called the Guo Shou Jing Telescope) pilot survey. We develop a color selection criteria based on what is so far the largest and most complete Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) DR7 WDMS binary catalog and identify 28 WDMS binaries within the LAMOST pilot survey. The primaries in our binary sample are mostly DA white dwarfs except for one DB white dwarf. We derive the stellar atmospheric parameters, masses, and radii for the two components of 10 of our binaries. We also provide cooling ages for the white dwarf primaries as well as the spectral types for the companion stars of these 10 WDMS binaries. These binaries tend to contain hot white dwarfs and early-type companions. Through cross-identification, we note that nine binaries in our sample have been published in the SDSS DR7 WDMS binary catalog. Nineteen spectroscopic WDMS binaries identified by the LAMOST pilot survey are new. Using the 3$\sigma$ radial velocity variation as a criterion, we find two post-common-envelope binary candidates from our WDMS binary sample.

The first analytical expression to estimate photometric redshifts suggested by a machine

We report the first analytical expression purely constructed by a machine to determine photometric redshifts ($z_{\rm phot}$) of galaxies. A simple and reliable functional form is derived using $41,214$ galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10 (SDSS-DR10) spectroscopic sample. The method automatically dropped the $u$ and $z$ bands, relying only on $g$, $r$ and $i$ for the final solution. Applying this expression to other $1,417,181$ SDSS-DR10 galaxies, with measured spectroscopic redshifts ($z_{\rm spec}$), we achieved a mean $\langle (z_{\rm phot} – z_{\rm spec})/(1+z_{\rm spec})\rangle\lesssim 0.0086$ and a scatter $\sigma_{(z_{\rm phot} – z_{\rm spec})/(1+z_{\rm spec})}\lesssim 0.045$ when averaged up to $z \lesssim 1.0$. This work is the first use of symbolic regression in cosmology, representing a leap forward in astronomy-data-mining connection.

High-resolution observations of SDSS J080800.99+483807.7 in the optical and radio domains. A possible example of jet-triggered star formation

Double-lobe radio galaxies are ideally suited to investigate the interaction of the individual components of the radio structure with the intergalactic medium and the interstellar medium of the host galaxy. SDSS J080800.99+483807.7 has been serendipitously discovered in MERLIN 18 cm observations to be a double-lobed radio galaxy. Because it is an optically faint source, basic information like redshift, linear size, and structure has been incomplete until now. Furthermore, there are no spectra of this source available in any databases. The goal of this work is to derive the main physical properties of SDSS J080800.99+483807.7 and study the possible interaction between the radio jets and the interstellar medium of the host galaxy. To achieve this goal, we used optical spectroscopy and radio interferometry. The radio data were obtained with MERLIN at 18 cm and the optical data with the Multi-Object Double Spectrograph (MODS) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). The redshift of the galaxy is z = 0.2805 +/- 0.0003, resulting in a linear size of the observed radio structure of ~ 26.3 kpc. The optical line emission as well as the infrared and radio continuum emission suggest a high star-formation activity. In addition, we estimated the mass of the central black hole to be log (MBH/Msun) ~ 6.9. The MODS spectrum and the optical images from Sloan Digital Sky Survey suggest that SDSS J080800.99+483807.7 is an elliptical host galaxy. In combination with the overall radio structure, we argue that the star formation could be the result of the back-flow along the jet and the interstellar medium of the host.

A technique for estimation of starburst masses and ages in luminous compact galaxies

We propose a technique for estimation of the mass m of the young stellar population and the starburst age T in luminous compact galaxies (LCGs). For this purpose we use LCG H{\alpha} emission line luminosities from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) spectra and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) FUV and NUV continuum luminosities. The method is intended for quick estimation of m and T in large galaxy samples and does not require spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting. Estimated m and T for the sample of about 550 LCGs are compared with the same values derived from the SED fitting in the wavelength range \lambda\lambda 3800 — 9200\AA. We obtain the average differences in log m and T of 0.27 and 0.87 Myr, respectively. This technique could be used for selection of galaxies with desired ranges of m and T or for reducing a range of parameter variations in SED fitting.

Galaxy pairs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey - VIII: The observational properties of post-merger galaxies

In order to investigate the effects of galaxy mergers throughout the interaction sequence, we present a study of 10,800 galaxies in close pairs and a smaller sample of 97 post-mergers identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We find that the average central star formation rate (SFR) enhancement (x 3.5) and the fraction of starbursts (20 per cent) peak in the post-merger sample. The post-mergers also show a stronger deficit in gas phase metallicity than the closest pairs, being more metal-poor than their control by -0.09 dex. Combined with the observed trends in SFR and the timescales predicted in merger simulations, we estimate that the post-mergers in our sample have undergone coalescence within the last few hundred Myr. In contrast with the incidence of star-forming galaxies, the frequency of active galactic nuclei (AGN) peaks in the post-mergers, outnumbering AGN in the control sample by a factor of 3.75. Moreover, amongst the galaxies that host an AGN, the black hole accretion rates in the closest pairs and post-mergers are higher by a factor of ~3 than AGN in the control sample. These results are consistent with a picture in which star formation is initiated early on in the encounter, with AGN activity peaking post-coalescence.

Window effect in the power spectrum analysis of a galaxy redshift survey

We investigate the effect of the window function on the multipole power spectrum in two different ways. First, we consider the convolved power spectrum including the window effect, which is obtained by following the familiar (FKP) method developed by Feldman, Kaiser and Peacock. We show how the convolved multipole power spectrum is related to the original power spectrum, using the multipole moments of the window function. Second, we investigate the deconvolved power spectrum, which is obtained by using the Fourier deconvolution theorem. In the second approach, we measure the multipole power spectrum deconvolved from the window effect. We demonstrate how to deal with the window effect in these two approaches, applying them to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) luminous red galaxy (LRG) sample.

Galaxy Zoo 2: detailed morphological classifications for 304,122 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We present the data release for Galaxy Zoo 2 (GZ2), a citizen science project with more than 16 million morphological classifications of 304,122 galaxies drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Morphology is a powerful probe for quantifying a galaxy’s dynamical history; however, automatic classifications of morphology (either by computer analysis of images or by using other physical parameters as proxies) still have drawbacks when compared to visual inspection. The large number of images available in current surveys makes visual inspection of each galaxy impractical for individual astronomers. GZ2 uses classifications from volunteer citizen scientists to measure morphologies for all galaxies in the DR7 Legacy survey with m_r>17, in addition to deeper images from SDSS Stripe 82. While the original Galaxy Zoo project identified galaxies as early-types, late-types, or mergers, GZ2 measures finer morphological features. These include bars, bulges, and the shapes of edge-on disks, as well as quantifying the relative strengths of galactic bulges and spiral arms. This paper presents the full public data release for the project, including measures of accuracy and bias. The majority (>90%) of GZ2 classifications agree with those made by professional astronomers, especially for morphological T-types, strong bars, and arm curvature. Both the raw and reduced data products can be obtained in electronic format at http://data.galaxyzoo.org.

Galaxy Zoo 2: detailed morphological classifications for 304,122 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey [Replacement]

We present the data release for Galaxy Zoo 2 (GZ2), a citizen science project with more than 16 million morphological classifications of 304,122 galaxies drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Morphology is a powerful probe for quantifying a galaxy’s dynamical history; however, automatic classifications of morphology (either by computer analysis of images or by using other physical parameters as proxies) still have drawbacks when compared to visual inspection. The large number of images available in current surveys makes visual inspection of each galaxy impractical for individual astronomers. GZ2 uses classifications from volunteer citizen scientists to measure morphologies for all galaxies in the DR7 Legacy survey with m_r>17, in addition to deeper images from SDSS Stripe 82. While the original Galaxy Zoo project identified galaxies as early-types, late-types, or mergers, GZ2 measures finer morphological features. These include bars, bulges, and the shapes of edge-on disks, as well as quantifying the relative strengths of galactic bulges and spiral arms. This paper presents the full public data release for the project, including measures of accuracy and bias. The majority (>90%) of GZ2 classifications agree with those made by professional astronomers, especially for morphological T-types, strong bars, and arm curvature. Both the raw and reduced data products can be obtained in electronic format at http://data.galaxyzoo.org .

Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): Resolving the role of environment in galaxy evolution

We present observations of 18 galaxies from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey made with the SPIRAL optical integral field unit (IFU) on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. The galaxies are selected to have a narrow range in stellar mass (6×10^9Msolar < M* <2×10^10 Msolar) in order to focus on the effects of environment. Local galaxy environments are measured quantitatively using 5th nearest neighbour surface densities. We find that the total star formation rates (SFR) measured from the IFU data are consistent with total SFRs measured from aperture correcting either GAMA or Sloan Digital Sky Survey single-fibre observations. The mean differences are SFR_GAMA/SFR_IFU = 1.26+/-0.23, sigma=0.90 and for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey we similarly find SFR_Brinchmann/SFR_IFU = 1.34+/-0.17, sigma=0.67. Examining the relationships with environment, we find off-centre and clumpy Halpha emission is not significantly dependent on environment, being present in 2/7 (29^+20_-11 per cent) galaxies in high-density environments (>0.77 Mpc^-2), and 5/11 (45^+15_-13 per cent) galaxies in low-density environments (<0.77 Mpc^-2). We find a weak but not significant relationship of the total star formation rates of star-forming galaxies with environment. Due to the size of our sample and the scatter observed we do not draw a definitive conclusion about a possible SFR dependence on environment. Examining the spatial distribution of the Halpha emission, we find no evidence for a change in shape or amplitude of the radial profile of star-forming galaxies with environment. If these observations are borne out in larger samples this would infer that any environment-driven star-formation suppression must either act very rapidly (the `infall-and-quench’ model) or that galaxies must evolve in a density-dependent manner (an `in-situ evolution’ model).

The clustering of ALFALFA galaxies: dependence on HI mass, relationship to optical samples & clues on host halo properties

We use a sample of ~6000 galaxies detected by the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) 21cm survey, to measure the clustering properties of HI-selected galaxies. We find no convincing evidence for a dependence of clustering on the galactic atomic hydrogen (HI) mass, over the range M_HI ~ 10^{8.5} – 10^{10.5} M_sun. We show that previously reported results of weaker clustering for low-HI mass galaxies are probably due to finite-volume effects. In addition, we compare the clustering of ALFALFA galaxies with optically selected samples drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We find that HI-selected galaxies cluster more weakly than even relatively optically faint galaxies, when no color selection is applied. Conversely, when SDSS galaxies are split based on their color, we find that the correlation function of blue optical galaxies is practically indistinguishable from that of HI-selected galaxies. At the same time, SDSS galaxies with red colors are found to cluster significantly more than HI-selected galaxies, a fact that is evident in both the projected as well as the full two-dimensional correlation function. A cross-correlation analysis further reveals that gas-rich galaxies "avoid" being located within ~3 Mpc of optical galaxies with red colors. Next, we consider the clustering properties of halo samples selected from the Bolshoi LambdaCDM simulation. A comparison with the clustering of ALFALFA galaxies suggests that galactic HI mass is not tightly related to host halo mass, and that a sizable fraction of subhalos do not host HI galaxies. Lastly, we find that we can recover fairly well the correlation function of HI galaxies by just excluding halos with low spin parameter. This finding lends support to the hypothesis that halo spin plays a key role in determining the gas content of galaxies.

Detecting filamentary pattern in the cosmic web: a catalogue of filaments for the SDSS

The main feature of the spatial large-scale galaxy distribution is its intricate network of galaxy filaments. This network is spanned by the galaxy locations that can be interpreted as a three-dimensional point distribution. The global properties of the point process can be measured by different statistical methods, which, however, do not describe directly the structure elements. The morphology of the large scale structure is an important property of the galaxy distribution. Here we apply an object point process with interactions (the Bisous model) to trace and extract the filamentary network in the presently largest galaxy redshift survey, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We search for filaments in the galaxy distribution having a radius of about 0.5 Mpc/h. We divide the detected network into single filaments and present a public catalogue of filaments. We study the filament length distribution and show that the longest filaments reach the length of 60 Mpc/h. The filaments contain 35-40% of the total galaxy luminosity and they cover roughly 5-8% of the total volume, in good agreement with N-body simulations and previous observational results.

Photometric Identification of Objects from Galaxy Evolution Explorer Survey and Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We have used GALEX and SDSS observations to extract 7 band photometric magnitudes for over 80,000 objects in the vicinity of the North Galactic Pole. Although these had been identified as stars by the SDSS pipeline, we found through fitting with model SEDs that most were, in fact, of extragalactic origin. Only about 9% of these objects turned out to be main sequence stars and about 11% were white dwarfs and red giants collectively, while galaxies and quasars contributed to the remaining 80% of the data. We have classified these objects into different spectral types (for the stars) and into different galactic types (for the galaxies). As part of our fitting procedure, we derive the distance and extinction to each object and the photometric redshift towards galaxies and quasars. This method easily allows for the addition of any number of observations to cover a more diverse range of wavelengths, as well as the addition of any number of model templates. The primary objective of this work is to eventually derive a 3-dimensional extinction map of the Milky Way galaxy.

The 9 and 18 Micron Luminosity Function of Various Types of Galaxies with AKARI: Implication for the Dust Torus Structure of AGN

We present the 9 and 18 micron luminosity functions (LFs) of galaxies at 0.006 < z < 0.8 (with an average redshift of ~ 0.04) using the AKARI mid-infrared all-sky survey catalog. We selected 243 galaxies at 9 micron and 255 galaxies at 18 micron from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) spectroscopy region. These galaxies were then classified by their optical emission lines, such as the line width of H_alpha or by their emission line ratios of [OIII]/H_beta and [NII]/H_alpha into five types: Type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGN) (Type 1); Type 2 AGN (Type 2); low-ionization narrow emission line galaxies (LINER); galaxies with both star formation and narrow-line AGN activity (composite galaxies); and star-forming galaxies (SF). We found that (i) the number density ratio of Type 2 to Type 1 AGNs is 1.73 +/- 0.36, which is larger than a result obtained from the optical LF and (ii) this ratio decreases with increasing 18 micron luminosity.

Reconstruction of the primordial power spectrum of curvature perturbations using multiple data sets

Detailed knowledge of the primordial power spectrum (PPS) of curvature perturbations is essential both in order to elucidate the physical mechanism (`inflation’) which generated it, and for estimating the parameters of the assumed cosmological model from CMB and LSS data. Hence it ought to be extracted from such data in a model-independent manner, however this is difficult because relevant cosmological observables are given in general by a convolution of the PPS with some smoothing kernel. The deconvolution problem is ill-conditioned so a regularisation scheme must be employed to control error propagation. We demonstrate that `Tikhonov regularisation’ can robustly reconstruct the PPS from multiple cosmological data sets, a significant advantage being that both its uncertainty and resolution are precisely quantified. Using Monte Carlo simulations we investigate the performance of several regularisation parameter selection methods and find that generalised cross-validation and Mallow’s C_p method give optimal results. We apply our inversion procedure to data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, other ground-based small angular scale CMB experiments, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The reconstructed PPS is not scale-free but has an infrared cutoff at k <= 5 X 10^{-4} Mpc^{-1} (due to the low CMB quadrupole) and several features with ~2 sigma significance at k/Mpc^{-1} = 0.0013-0.0023, 0.0362-0.0402 and 0.051-0.056, reflecting the WMAP `glitches’. To test whether these are indeed real will require more accurate data, such as from the Planck satellite and new ground-based experiments.

A plausible (overlooked) super-luminous supernova in the SDSS Stripe 82 data [Replacement]

We present the discovery of a plausible super-luminous supernova (SLSN), found in the archival data of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Stripe 82, called PSN 000123+000504. The supernova peaked at M_g<-21.3 mag in the second half of September 2005, but was missed by the real-time supernova hunt. The observed part of the light curve (17 epochs) showed that the rise to the maximum took over 30 days, while the decline time lasted at least 70 days (observed frame), closely resembling other SLSNe of SN2007bi type. Spectrum of the host galaxy reveals a redshift of z=0.281 and the distance modulus of \mu=40.77 mag. Combining this information with the SDSS photometry, we found the host galaxy to be an LMC-like irregular dwarf galaxy with the absolute magnitude of M_B=-18.2+/-0.2 mag and the oxygen abundance of 12+log[O/H]=8.3+/-0.2. Our SLSN follows the relation for the most energetic/super-luminous SNe exploding in low-metallicity environments, but we found no clear evidence for SLSNe to explode in low-luminosity (dwarf) galaxies only. The available information on the PSN 000123+000504 light curve suggests the magnetar-powered model as a likely scenario of this event. This SLSN is a new addition to a quickly growing family of super-luminous SNe.

A plausible (overlooked) super-luminous supernova in the SDSS Stripe 82 data

We present the discovery of a plausible super-luminous supernova (SLSN), found in the archival data of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Stripe 82, called PSN 000123+000504. The supernova peaked at M_g<-21.3 mag in the second half of September 2005, but was missed by the real-time supernova hunt. The observed part of the light curve (17 epochs) showed that the rise to the maximum took over 30 days, while the decline time lasted at least 70 days (observed frame), closely resembling other SLSNe of SN2007bi type. Spectrum of the host galaxy reveals a redshift of z=0.281 and the distance modulus of \mu=40.77 mag. Combining this information with the SDSS photometry, we found the host galaxy to be an LMC-like irregular dwarf galaxy with the absolute magnitude of M_B=-18.2+/-0.2 mag and the oxygen abundance of 12+log[O/H]=8.3+/-0.2. Our SLSN follows the relation for the most energetic/super-luminous SNe exploding in low-metallicity environments, but we found no clear evidence for SLSNe to explode in low-luminosity (dwarf) galaxies only. The available information on the PSN 000123+000504 light curve suggests the magnetar-powered model as a likely scenario of this event. This SLSN is a new addition to a quickly growing family of super-luminous SNe.

Do group dynamics play a role in the evolution of member galaxies?

We examine galaxy groups from the present epoch to z = 1 to explore the impact of group dynamics on galaxy evolution. We use group catalagues from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Group Environment and Evolution Collaboration (GEEC) and the high redshift GEEC2 sample to study how the observed member properties depend on galaxy stellar mass, group dynamical mass and dynamical state of the host group. We find a strong correlation between the fraction of non-star-forming (quiescent) galaxies and galaxy stellar mass, but do not detect a significant difference in the quiescent fraction with group dynamical mass, within our sample halo mass range of 10^13-10^14.5 M_sun, or with dynamical sate. However, at a redshift of approximately 0.4 we do see some evidence that the quiescent fraction in low mass galaxies (log(M_star/M_sun) < 10.5) is lower in groups with substructure. Additionally, our results show that the fraction of groups with non-Gaussian velocity distributions increases with redshift to roughly z = 0.4, while the amount of detected substructure remains constant to z = 1. Based on these results, we conclude that for massive galaxies (log(M_star/M_sun_ > 10.5), evolution is most strongly correlated to the stellar mass of a galaxy with little or no additional effect related to either the group dynamical mass or dynamical state. For low mass galaxies, we do see some evidence of a correlation between the quiescent fraction and the amount of detected substructure, highlighting the need to probe further down the stellar mass function to elucidate the role of the environment in galaxy evolution.

Red-channel (6000-8000 {\AA}) nuclear spectra of 376 local galaxies [Replacement]

We obtained long-slit optical spectra of the nuclear regions of 376 galaxies in the local Universe using the 1.5m Cassini telescope of Bologna Observatory. Of these spectra, 164 were either never taken before by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), or given by the Nasa Extragalactic Database (NED). With these new spectra, we contribute investigating the occurrence of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Nevertheless, we stress that the present sample is by no means complete, thus, it cannot be used to perform any demographic study. Following the method presented in Gavazzi et al. (2011), we classify the nuclear spectra using a six bin scheme: SEY (Seyfert), sAGN (strong AGN), and wAGN (weak AGN) represent active galactic nuclei of different levels of activity; HII accounts for star-forming nuclei; RET (retired) and PAS (passive) refer to nuclei with poor or no star-formation activity. The spectral classification is performed using the ratio of 6584 {\lambda} [NII] to H{\alpha} lines and the equivalent width (EW) of H{\alpha} versus [NII]/H{\alpha} (WHAN diagnostic introduced by Cid Fernandes and collaborators) after correcting H{\alpha} for underlying absorption. The obtained spectra are made available in machine readable format via the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS) and NED.

Large-scale analysis of the SDSS-III DR8 photometric luminous galaxies angular correlation function [Replacement]

We analyse the large-scale angular correlation function (ACF) of the CMASS luminous galaxies (LGs), a photometric-redshift catalogue based on the Data Release 8 (DR8) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III. This catalogue contains over $600 \, \, 000$ LGs in the range $0.45 \leq z \leq 0.65$, which was split into four redshift shells of constant width. First, we estimate the constraints on the redshift-space distortion (RSD) parameters $b\sigma_8$ and $f\sigma_8$, where $b$ is the galaxy bias, $f$ the growth rate and $\sigma_8$ is the normalization of the perturbations, finding that they vary appreciably among different redshift shells, in agreement with previous results using DR7 data. When assuming constant RSD parameters over the survey redshift range, we obtain $f\sigma_8 = 0.69 \pm 0.21$, which agrees at the $1.5\sigma$ level with Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey DR9 spectroscopic results. Next, we performed two cosmological analyses, where relevant parameters not fitted were kept fixed at their fiducial values. In the first analysis, we extracted the baryon acoustic oscillation peak position for the four redshift shells, and combined with the sound horizon scale from 7-year \textit{Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe} $(WMAP7)$ to produce the constraints $\Omega_{m}=0.249 \pm 0.031$ and $w=-0.885 \pm 0.145$. In the second analysis, we used the ACF full shape information to constrain cosmology using real data for the first time, finding $\Omega_{m} = 0.280 \pm 0.022$ and $f_b = \Omega_b/\Omega_m = 0.211 \pm 0.026$. These results are in good agreement with $WMAP7$ findings, showing that the ACF can be efficiently applied to constrain cosmology in future photometric galaxy surveys.

Dwarf Galaxies with Optical Signatures of Active Massive Black Holes [Replacement]

We present a sample of 151 dwarf galaxies (10^8.5 < M_stellar < 10^9.5 Msun) that exhibit optical spectroscopic signatures of accreting massive black holes (BHs), increasing the number of known active galaxies in this stellar mass range by more than an order of magnitude. Utilizing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 8 and stellar masses from the NASA-Sloan Atlas, we have systematically searched for active BHs in ~25,000 emission-line galaxies with stellar masses comparable to the Magellanic Clouds and redshifts z<0.055. Using the narrow-line [OIII]/H-beta versus [NII]/H-alpha diagnostic diagram, we find photoionization signatures of BH accretion in 136 galaxies, a small fraction of which also exhibit broad H-alpha emission. For these broad-line AGN candidates, we estimate BH masses using standard virial techniques and find a range of 10^5 < M_BH < 10^6 Msun and a median of M_BH ~ 2 x 10^5 Msun. We also detect broad H-alpha in 15 galaxies that have narrow-line ratios consistent with star-forming galaxies. Follow-up observations are required to determine if these are true type 1 AGN or if the broad H-alpha is from stellar processes. The median absolute magnitude of the host galaxies in our active sample is Mg = -18.1 mag, which is ~1-2 magnitudes fainter than previous samples of AGN hosts with low-mass BHs. This work constrains the smallest galaxies that can form a massive BH, with implications for BH feedback in low-mass galaxies and the origin of the first supermassive BH seeds.

Dwarf Galaxies with Optical Signatures of Active Massive Black Holes

We present a sample of 151 dwarf galaxies (10^8.5 < M_stellar < 10^9.5 Msun) that exhibit optical spectroscopic signatures of accreting massive black holes (BHs), increasing the number of known active galaxies in this stellar mass range by more than an order of magnitude. Utilizing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 8 and stellar masses from the NASA-Sloan Atlas, we have systematically searched for active BHs in ~25,000 emission-line galaxies with stellar masses comparable to the Magellanic Clouds and redshifts z<0.055. Using the narrow-line [OIII]/H-beta versus [NII]/H-alpha diagnostic diagram, we find photoionization signatures of BH accretion in 136 galaxies, a small fraction of which also exhibit broad H-alpha emission. For these broad-line AGN candidates, we estimate BH masses using standard virial techniques and find a range of 10^5 < M_BH < 10^6 Msun and a median of M_BH ~ 2 x 10^5 Msun. We also detect broad H-alpha in 15 galaxies that have narrow-line ratios consistent with star-forming galaxies. Follow-up observations are required to determine if these are true type 1 AGN or if the broad H-alpha is from stellar processes. The median absolute magnitude of the host galaxies in our active sample is Mg = -18.1 mag, which is ~1-2 magnitudes fainter than previous samples of AGN hosts with low-mass BHs. This work constrains the smallest galaxies that can form a massive BH, with implications for BH feedback in low-mass galaxies and the origin of the first supermassive BH seeds.

Massive Clumps in Local Galaxies: Comparisons with High-Redshift Clumps

Local UV-bright galaxies in the Kiso survey include clumpy systems with kpc-size star complexes that resemble clumpy young galaxies in surveys at high redshift. We compare clump masses and underlying disks in several dozen galaxies from each of these surveys to the star complexes and disks of normal spirals. Photometry and spectroscopy for the Kiso and spiral sample come from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We find that the largest Kiso clumpy galaxies resemble UDF clumpies in terms of the star formation rates, clump masses, and clump surface densities. Clump masses and surface densities in normal spirals are smaller. If the clump masses are proportional to the turbulent Jeans mass in the interstellar medium, then for the most luminous galaxies in the sequence of normal:Kiso:UDF, the turbulent speeds and surface densities increase in the proportions 1.0:4.7:5.0 and 1.0:4.0:5.1, respectively, for fixed restframe B-band absolute magnitude. For the least luminous galaxies in the overlapping magnitude range, the turbulent speed and surface density trends are 1.0:2.7:7.4 and 1.0:1.4:3.0, respectively. We also find that while all three types have radially decreasing disk intensities when measured with ellipse-fit azimuthal averages, the average profiles are more irregular for UDF clumpies (which are viewed in their restframe UV) than for Kiso galaxies (viewed at g-band), and major axis intensity scans are even more irregular for the UDF than Kiso galaxies. Local clumpy galaxies in the Kiso survey appear to be intermediate between UDF clumpies and normal spirals.

Narrow absorption line variability in repeat quasar observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We present the results from a time domain study of absorption lines detected in quasar spectra with repeat observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (SDSS DR7). Beginning with over 4500 unique time separation baselines of various absorption line species identified in the SDSS DR7 quasar spectra, we create a catalogue of 2522 quasar absorption line systems with two to eight repeat observations, representing the largest collection of unbiased and homogeneous multi-epoch absorption systems ever published. To investigate these systems for time variability of narrow absorption lines, we refine this sample based on the reliability of the system detection, the proximity of pixels with bright sky contamination to individual absorption lines, and the quality of the continuum fit. Variability measurements of this sub-sample based on the absorption line equivalent widths yield a total of 33 systems with indications of significantly variable absorption strengths on time-scales ranging from one day to several years in the rest frame of the absorption system. Of these, at least 10 are from a class known as intervening absorption systems caused by foreground galaxies along the line of sight to the background quasar. This is the first evidence of possible absorption line variability detected in intervening systems, and their short time-scale variations suggest that small-scale structures (~10-100 au) are likely to exist in their host foreground galaxies.

 

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