EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 426, Number 2, November I 2004
Page(s) 737 - 745
Section Instruments, observational techniques, and data processing
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041414

A&A 426, 737-745 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041414

Line-of-sight velocity distribution corrections for Lick/IDS indices of early-type galaxies

H. Kuntschner

Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
    e-mail: hkuntsch@eso.org

(Received 4 June 2004 / Accepted 5 July 2004)

We investigate line-of-sight velocity distribution (LOSVD) corrections for absorption line-strength indices of early-type galaxies in the Lick/IDS system. This system is often used to estimate basic stellar population parameters such as luminosity weighted ages and metallicities. Using single stellar population model spectral energy distributions by Vazdekis (1999) we find that the LOSVD corrections are largely insensitive to changes in the stellar populations for old galaxies (age >3 Gyr). Only the Lick/IDS Balmer series indices show an appreciable effect, which is on the order of the correction itself. Furthermore, we investigate the sensitivity of the LOSVD corrections to non-Gaussian LOSVDs. In this case the LOSVD can be described by a Gauss-Hermite series and it is shown that typical values of h3 and h4 observed in early-type galaxies can lead to significant modifications of the LOSVD corrections and thus to changes in the derived luminosity weighted ages and metallicities. A new, simple parameterisation for the LOSVD corrections, taking into account the h3 and h4 terms, is proposed and calibrations given for a subset of the Lick/IDS indices and two additional indices applicable to old ( >3 Gyr) stellar populations.

Key words: line: profiles -- methods: data analysis -- galaxies: abundances -- galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD -- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

© ESO 2004