The AMIGA sample of isolated galaxies*
V. Quantification of the isolation
LERMA – Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: [Simon.Verley;Francoise.Combes]@obspm.fr
2 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía – CSIC, C/ Camino Bajo de Huetor 50, 18008 Granada, Spain e-mail: [simon;lourdes;jsm;gilles;daniel;garcia]@iaa.es
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Instituto de RadioAstronomía Milimétrica, Avenida Divina Pastora 7, Núcleo Central, 18012 Granada, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
5 Department of Astronomy, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Departamento de Física Teórica y del Cosmos, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
7 McDonald Observatory, University of Texas, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 17 June 2007
Context.The AMIGA project aims to build a well defined and statistically significant reference sample of isolated galaxies in order to estimate the environmental effects on the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Aims.The goal of this paper is to provide a measure of the environment of the isolated galaxies in the AMIGA sample, quantifying the influence of the candidate neighbours identified in our previous work and their potential effects on the evolution of the primary galaxies. Here we provide a quantification of the isolation degree of the galaxies in this sample.
Methods.Our starting sample is the Catalogue of Isolated Galaxies (CIG). We used two parameters to estimate the influence exerted by the neighbour galaxies on the CIG galaxy: the local number density of neighbour galaxies and the tidal strength affecting the CIG galaxy. We show that both parameters together provide a comprehensive picture of the environment. For comparison, those parameters have also been derived for galaxies in denser environments such as triplets, groups and clusters.
Results.The CIG galaxies show a continuous spectrum of isolation, as quantified by the two parameters, from very isolated to interacting. The fraction of CIG galaxies whose properties are expected to be influenced by the environment is however low (159 out of 950 galaxies). The isolated parameters derived for the comparison samples gave higher values than for the CIG and we found clear differences for the average values of the 4 samples considered, proving the sensitivity of these parameters.
Conclusions.The environment of the galaxies in the CIG has been characterised, using two complementary parameters quantifying the isolation degree, the local number density of the neighbour galaxies and the tidal forces affecting the isolated galaxies. A final catalogue of galaxies has been produced and the most isolated of these galaxies are consequently appropriate to serve as a reference sample for the AMIGA project.
Key words: galaxies: general / galaxies: fundamental parameters / galaxies: formation / galaxies: evolution
© ESO, 2007