Volume 437, Number 3, July III 2005
|Page(s)||883 - 897|
|Published online||30 June 2005|
The K20 survey
VII. The spectroscopic catalogue: Spectral properties and evolution of the galaxy population
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E.Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Racah Institute for Physics, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
5 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
6 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via dell'Osservatorio 2, Monteporzio, Italy
7 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via E. Bianchi 46, Merate, Italy
Accepted: 29 March 2005
The K20 survey is a near infrared-selected, deep () redshift survey targeting galaxies in two independent regions of the sky, the Chandra Deep Field South and the field around the quasar , for a total area of 52 arcmin2. The total Ks-selected sample includes 545 objects. Low-resolution () optical spectra for 525 of them have been obtained with the FORS1/FORS2 spectrographs at the ESO/VLT, providing 501 spectroscopic identifications (including 12 type-1 AGN and 45 stars); consequently, we were able to measure redshifts and identify stars in 96% of the observed objects, whereas the spectroscopic completeness with respect to the total photometrically selected sample is 92% (501/545). The K20 survey is therefore the most complete spectroscopic survey of a near infrared-selected sample to date. The K20 survey contains 444 spectroscopically identified galaxies, covering a redshift range of , with a mean redshift ; excluding the 32 “low-quality” redshifts does not significantly change these values. This paper describes the final K20 spectroscopic catalogue, along with the technique used to determine redshifts, measure the spectral features and characterize the spectra. The classification of the galaxy spectra has been performed according to a simple parametric recipe that uses the equivalent widths of the two main emission lines ([OII]λ3727 and Hα+[NII]) and two continuum indices (the 4000 Å break index, D4000, and a near-UV color index, ). We defined three main spectroscopic classes: red early-type galaxies, blue emission-line galaxies and the intermediate galaxies, which show emission lines but a red continuum. More than 95% of the examined galaxies is included in one of these spectral types and a composite spectrum is built for each of the three galaxy classes. The full spectroscopic catalogue, the reduced individual spectra and the composite spectra are released to the community through the K20 web page (http://www.arcetri.astro.it/~k20/). The blue emission-line and the early-type galaxies have been divided in redshift bins, and the corresponding composite spectra have been built, in order to investigate the evolution of the spectral properties of the K20 galaxies with redshift. The early-type average spectra are remarkable in their similarity, showing only subtle but systematic differences in the D4000 index, which are consistent with the ageing of the stellar population. Conversely, the star-forming galaxies present a significant “blueing” of the optical/near-UV continuum with redshift, although the [OII] equivalent width remains constant (~33 Å) in the same redshift intervals. We reproduce the observed properties with simple, dust-free population synthesis models, suggesting that the high-redshift galaxies are younger and more active than those detected at lower redshift, whilst the equivalent width of the emission lines apparently require a lower metallicity for the low-redshift objects. This may be consistent with the metallicity-luminosity relationship locally observed for star-forming galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: distances and redshifts
© ESO, 2005
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