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Autofib Redshift Survey — I. Evolution of the galaxy luminosity function

Ellis, Richard S. and Colless, Matthew and Broadhurst, Tom and Heyl, Jeremy and Glazebrook, Karl (1996) Autofib Redshift Survey — I. Evolution of the galaxy luminosity function. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 280 (1). pp. 235-251. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/280.1.235.

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We present a detailed determination of the rest frame B-band galaxy luminosity function (LF) as a function of redshift and star formation activity from z = 0 to z≃ 0.75. The data set used for this purpose is a composite sample of over 1700 redshifts spanning a wide range in apparent magnitude, 11.5 <bJ <24.0, which we term the Autofib Redshift Survey. The sample includes various earlier magnitude-limited surveys constructed by our team, as well as a new survey of 1026 redshifts measured for galaxies at intermediate magnitudes. Spectral classifications, essential for estimating the k-corrections and galaxy luminosities, are accomplished via cross-correlation with Kennicutt's library of integrated galaxy spectra. The various overlapping surveys in the sample enable us to assess the effects of redshift incompleteness. We demonstrate that uncertainties in classification and those arising from incompleteness do not seriously affect our conclusions. The large range in apparent magnitude sampled allows us to investigate both the nature of the LF at low redshifts (z < 0.1) and the possible evolution in its shape to z = 0.75. We find that earlier bright surveys have underestimated the absolute normalization of the LF. Because the shape of the local LF does not change with the apparent-magnitude limit of the survey, it seems unlikely that the local deficiency arises from an underestimated population of low-luminosity galaxies. Furthermore, surface-brightness losses cannot be significant unless they conspire to retain the LF shape over a variety of detection thresholds. Our data directly demonstrate that the B-band LF evolves with redshift. This evolution is best represented as a steepening of the faint-end slope of the LF, from α ≃ −1.1 at low redshift to α ≃ −1.5 at z ≃ 0.5. Using [O II] emission as an indicator of star-formation activity, we show that the LF of quiescent galaxies has remained largely unchanged since z ≃ 0.5, whereas the luminosity density of star-forming galaxies has declined by more than 50 per cent. The steepening of the overall LF with look-back time is of the form originally postulated by Broadhurst, Ellis & Shanks and is a direct consequence of the increasing space density of blue star-forming galaxies at moderate redshifts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ellis, Richard S.0000-0001-7782-7071
Colless, Matthew0000-0001-9552-8075
Broadhurst, Tom0000-0002-8785-8979
Heyl, Jeremy0000-0001-9739-367X
Glazebrook, Karl0000-0002-3254-9044
Additional Information:© 1996 RAS. Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Accepted 1995 November 23; Received 1995 November 21; in original form 1995 August 22.; Published: 01 May 1996. We thank Ian Parry, Ray Sharples, Peter Gray and staff at the AAT for their great efforts in making the Autofib instrument a reliable working system. We also thank PATT for their patience and support over many semesters. Keith Taylor and Jeremy Allington-Smith are thanked for their assistance with LDSS-1 and LDSS-2. We acknowledge useful discussions with Len Cowie, Olivier LeFevre, David Koo, Simon Lilly, Steve Maddox and Ron Marzke. RSE and KGB acknowledge financial support from PPARC. JSH thanks the Marshall Aid Commission. MMC acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Academy of Science/Royal Society exchange program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)UNSPECIFIED
Marshall Aid CommissionUNSPECIFIED
Australian Academy of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution, galaxies: luminosity function, mass function, cosmology: observations, large-scale structure of Universe
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210309-153603399
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Official Citation:Richard S. Ellis, Matthew Colless, Tom Broadhurst, Jeremy Heyl, Karl Glazebrook, Autofib Redshift Survey — I. Evolution of the galaxy luminosity function, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 280, Issue 1, May 1996, Pages 235–251,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108374
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Mar 2021 20:22
Last Modified:18 Apr 2023 18:47

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