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Published April 15, 1986 | Published
Journal Article Open

The luminosity function and space density of the most luminous galaxies in the IRAS survey


The local space density of galaxies with 60 μm luminosity greater than VL_v (60 μm) ≳ 10^(10) L_☉ is derived from a sample of bright galaxies detected in the IRAS survey. The sample is complete to 5 Jy at 60 μm and covers one-quarter of the sky. With a maximum redshift in the sample of 0.081, this sample represents a survey of the infrared characteristics for infrared bright galaxies in the local universe. The space density is described by p(L) ≈ 1.7 X 10^(-3) (L/10^(10) L_☉)-2 Mpc^(-3) over the range 10^(10) L_☉ < VLv, (60 μm) ≾ 3 X 10^(12) L_☉. The space density of infrared bright galaxies appears comparable to or larger than other classes of extragalactic objects for total luminosities greater than 10^(11) L_☉ . The space densities of infrared bright galaxies and non-Seyfert Markarian galaxies are very similar for L < 2.5 x 10^(11) L_☉. The far-infrared energy density in the local universe is close to that in visible light. It is suggested that a substantial fraction of all galaxies with L > 10^(10) L_☉ undergo a period of extreme infrared activity.

Additional Information

© 1986 American Astronomical Society. Received 1985 December 23; accepted 1986 January 21. We thank the staff of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) for assistance and M. Schmidt and J. R. Mould for helpful discussions. B. T. S. would like to thank J. R. Houck and the Cornell University Department of Astronomy for the hospitality while the writing of this paper was begun. B. T. S., D. B. S., G. N., C. J. L., and B. F. M. were supported by NASA through the IRAS extended mission program. G. E. D. is supported by NASA contract NAS5-25451. This is contribution 4298 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.

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Published - 1986ApJ___303L__41S.pdf


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