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Redshift-independent Distances in the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database: Methodology, Content, and Use of NED-D

Steer, Ian and Madore, Barry F. and Mazzarella, Joseph M. and Schmitz, Marion and Corwin, Harold G. and Chan, Ben H. P. and Ebert, Rick and Helou, George and Baker, Kay and Chen, Xi and Frayer, Cren and Jacobson, Jeff and Lo, Tak and Ogle, Patrick and Pevunova, Olga and Terek, Scott (2017) Redshift-independent Distances in the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database: Methodology, Content, and Use of NED-D. Astronomical Journal, 153 (1). Art. No. 37. ISSN 0004-6256.

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Estimates of galaxy distances based on indicators that are independent of cosmological redshift are fundamental to astrophysics. Researchers use them to establish the extragalactic distance scale, to underpin estimates of the Hubble constant, and to study peculiar velocities induced by gravitational attractions that perturb the motions of galaxies with respect to the "Hubble flow" of universal expansion. In 2006 the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) began making available a comprehensive compilation of redshift-independent extragalactic distance estimates. A decade later, this compendium of distances (NED-D) now contains more than 100,000 individual estimates based on primary and secondary indicators, available for more than 28,000 galaxies, and compiled from over 2000 references in the refereed astronomical literature. This paper describes the methodology, content, and use of NED-D, and addresses challenges to be overcome in compiling such distances. Currently, 75 different distance indicators are in use. We include a figure that facilitates comparison of the indicators with significant numbers of estimates in terms of the minimum, 25th percentile, median, 75th percentile, and maximum distances spanned. Brief descriptions of the indicators, including examples of their use in the database, are given in an appendix.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Madore, Barry F.0000-0002-1576-1676
Mazzarella, Joseph M.0000-0002-8204-8619
Helou, George0000-0003-3367-3415
Chen, Xi0000-0001-9152-6224
Ogle, Patrick0000-0002-3471-981X
Additional Information:© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 March 18; revised 2016 October 3; accepted 2016 October 10; published 2016 December 29. The authors are grateful to the many authors who publish redshift-independent extragalactic distance estimates. In particular we would like to thank Edward Baron, Jonathan Bird, Massimiliano Bonamente, Dmitry Bizyaev, John Blakeslee, Jean Brodie, Heather Campbell, Chris Corbally, Igor Drozdovsky, Wendy Freedman, Mohan Ganeshalingam, Gretchen Harris, William Harris, Raoul Haschke, Martha Haynes, Robert Hurt, George Jacoby, Igor Karachentsev, David Lagattuta, Tod Lauer, Mario Livio, Lucas Macri, Daniel Majaess, Dmitry Makarov, Karen Masters, Kristen McQuinn, Fulvio Melia, Jeremy Mould, Robert Quimby, Armin Rest, Adam Riess, Luca Rizzi, Dave Russell, Christoph Saulder, Riccardo Scarpa, Bradley Schaefer, David Schlegel, Daniel Scolnic, Chris Springob, Gilles Theureau, Brent Tully, Alan Whiting, and Henrique Xavier for many helpful comments over the years. This research has made extensive use of the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic services. This work has also made extensive use of, and is funded by, the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Additional generous support to IS from the Carnegie Institution of Canada is also gratefully appreciated.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Carnegie Institution of CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:astronomical databases: miscellaneous; catalogs; distance scale; galaxies: distances and redshifts; galaxies: fundamental parameters
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170104-135122413
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ian Steer et al 2017 AJ 153 37
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73215
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:04 Jan 2017 22:27
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:25

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