Journal Article

Photometric redshifts with surface brightness priors

Hans F. Stabenau, Andrew Connolly and Bhuvnesh Jain

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 3, pages 1215-1226
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Photometric redshifts with surface brightness priors

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We use galaxy surface brightness as prior information to improve photometric redshift (photo-z) estimation. We apply our template-based photo-z method to imaging data from the ground-based VVDS survey and the space-based GOODS field from HST, and use spectroscopic redshifts to test our photometric redshifts for different galaxy types and redshifts. We find that the surface brightness prior eliminates a large fraction of outliers by lifting the degeneracy between the Lyman and 4000-Å breaks. Bias and scatter are improved by about a factor of 2 with the prior in each redshift bin in the range 0.4 < z < 1.3, for both the ground and space data. Ongoing and planned surveys from the ground and space will benefit, provided that care is taken in measurements of galaxy sizes and in the application of the prior. We discuss the image quality and signal-to-noise ratio requirements that enable the surface brightness prior to be successfully applied.

Keywords: methods: data analysis; surveys; galaxies: distances and redshifts; galaxies: photometry

Journal Article.  8345 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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