Estimating fixed-frame galaxy magnitudes in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Blanton, M R; Brinkmann, J; Csabai, I; Doi, M; Eisenstein, D; Fukugita, M; Gunn, J E; Hogg, D W; Schlegel, D J
WoS ID: 000182371800006
Scopus ID: 0043263306
Broadband measurements of flux for galaxies at different redshifts measure different regions of the rest-frame galaxy spectrum. Certain astronomical questions, such as the evolution of the luminosity function of galaxies, require transforming these inherently redshift-dependent magnitudes into redshift-independent quantities. To prepare to address these astronomical questions, investigated in detail in subsequent papers, we fit spectral energy distributions (SEDs) to broadband photometric observations in the context of the optical observations of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Linear combinations of four spectral templates can reproduce the five SDSS magnitudes of all galaxies to the precision of the photometry. Expressed in the appropriate coordinate system, the locus of the coefficients multiplying the templates is planar and, in fact, nearly linear. The resulting reconstructed SEDs can be used to recover fixed-frame magnitudes over a range of redshifts. This process yields consistent results in the sense that, within each sample, the intrinsic colors of similar type galaxies are nearly constant with redshift. We compare our results with simpler interpolation methods and galaxy spectrophotometry from the SDSS. The software that generates these results is publicly available and easily adapted to handle a wide range of galaxy observations.