EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 416, Number 3, March IV 2004
Page(s) 865 - 873
Section Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20031748

A&A 416, 865-873 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031748

Galaxy luminosity evolution: How much is due to model choice?

S. Andreon

INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, 20121 Milano, Italy
(Received 29 April 2003 / Accepted 3 December 2003 )

The cluster and field luminosity functions (LFs) determined on large homogeneous samples ( N>2200 galaxies each) are almost indistinguishable, down to  M* +4 in the r and i filters, suggesting that the effect of the cluster environment on the galaxy properties does not affect the galaxy luminosity function in red bands. The similarity of the red band LFs in different environments suggests that the galaxy mass function is preserved during the galaxy infall in the cluster. By analyzing a large sample of galaxies in clusters, ideal from many points of view (multicolor data, large size, many clusters, metric magnitudes) we found that luminosity evolution is required by the data but its flavour cannot be unambiguously derived if a differential luminosity evolution between bright and faint galaxies is allowed. We show that the LF parameters (slope, characteristic magnitude and their evolution) and errors depend on assumptions in a way seldom recognized in the literature. We also point out logical inconsistencies between hypotheses assumed in deriving literature LF and presented results, suggesting caution in interpreting similar published results.

Key words: galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: clusters: general -- galaxies: luminosity function: mass function

© ESO 2004