Journal Article

Unbiased estimates of galaxy scaling relations from photometric redshift surveys

Graziano Rossi and Ravi K. Sheth

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 2, pages 735-740
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13259.x
Unbiased estimates of galaxy scaling relations from photometric redshift surveys

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Many physical properties of galaxies correlate with one another, and these correlations are often used to constrain galaxy formation models. Such correlations include the colour–magnitude relation, the luminosity–size relation, the fundamental plane, etc. However, the transformation from observable (e.g. angular size, apparent brightness) to physical quantity (physical size, luminosity) is often distance dependent. Noise in the distance estimate will lead to biased estimates of these correlations, thus compromising the ability of photometric redshift surveys to constrain galaxy formation models. We describe two methods which can remove this bias. One is a generalization of the Vmax method, and the other is a maximum-likelihood approach. We illustrate their effectiveness by studying the size–luminosity relation in a mock catalogue, although both methods can be applied to other scaling relations as well. We show that if one simply uses photometric redshifts one obtains a biased relation; our methods correct for this bias and recover the true relation.

Keywords: methods: analytical; methods: statistical; galaxies: formation; cosmology: observations

Journal Article.  3165 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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