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Superluminous Spiral Galaxies

Ogle, Patrick M. and Lanz, Lauranne and Nader, Cyril and Helou, George (2016) Superluminous Spiral Galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 817 (2). Art. No. 109. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We report the discovery of spiral galaxies that are as optically luminous as elliptical brightest cluster galaxies, with r-band monochromatic luminosity L_r = 8–14L* (4.3–7.5 × 10^(44) erg s^(−1)). These super spiral galaxies are also giant and massive, with diameter D = 57–134 kpc and stellar mass M_(stars) = 0.3–3.4 × 10^(11)M⊙. We find 53 super spirals out of a complete sample of 1616 SDSS galaxies with redshift z < 0.3 and L_r > 8L*. The closest example is found at z = 0.089. We use existing photometry to estimate their stellar masses and star formation rates (SFRs). The SDSS and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer colors are consistent with normal star-forming spirals on the blue sequence. However, the extreme masses and rapid SFRs of 5–65 M⊙ yr^(−1) place super spirals in a sparsely populated region of parameter space, above the star-forming main sequence of disk galaxies. Super spirals occupy a diverse range of environments, from isolation to cluster centers. We find four super spiral galaxy systems that are late-stage major mergers—a possible clue to their formation. We suggest that super spirals are a remnant population of unquenched, massive disk galaxies. They may eventually become massive lenticular galaxies after they are cut off from their gas supply and their disks fade.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ogle, Patrick M.0000-0002-3471-981X
Lanz, Lauranne0000-0002-3249-8224
Helou, George0000-0003-3367-3415
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 October 30; accepted 2015 December 17; published 2016 January 26. This work was made possible by the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database and the NASA/ IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which are both operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank Joe Mazzarella, Ben Chan, Marion Schmitz, and the rest of the NED team for useful discussions and their support of this work. This publication makes use of data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, retrieved from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Support for MAST for non-HST data is provided by the NASA Office of Space Science via grant NNX09AF08G and by other grants and contracts. Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS web site is This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. We also make use of data from Herschel, an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. We thank Katey Alatalo for providing the SDSS-WISE comparison data in Figure 1(a), which is adapted from Alatalo et al. (2014). We thank Phil Hopkins and Ski Antonucci for insightful discussions that contributed to the manuscript. Finally, we thank the anonymous referee for suggesting that we analyze available bulge-disk decompositions by Simard et al. (2009), strengthening our results.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Participating InstitutionsUNSPECIFIED
University of UtahUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: spiral
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160303-144427138
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Patrick M. Ogle et al 2016 ApJ 817 109
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65033
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Mar 2016 20:38
Last Modified:24 Feb 2020 10:30

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