Estimation of absorption line indices of early-type galaxies using colours
National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of
2 Institute for Astronomy and History of Science and Technology, Dali University, Dali 671003, PR China
Received: 19 October 2010
Accepted: 12 November 2010
Context. Absorption line indices are widely used to determine the stellar population parameters such as age and metallicity of galaxies, but it is not easy to obtain the line indices of some distant galaxies that have colours available.
Aims. This paper investigates the correlations between absorption line indices and colours.
Methods. A few statistical fitting methods are mainly used, via both the observational data of Sloan Digital Sky Survey and a widely used theoretical stellar population model.
Results. Some correlations between widely used absorption line indices and ugriz colours are found from both observational data of early-type galaxies and a theoretical simple stellar population model. In particular, good correlations between colours and widely used absorption line indices such as Dn(4000), HγA, HγF, HδA, Mg1, Mg2, and Mgb, are shown in this paper.
Conclusions. Some important absorption line indices of early-type galaxies can be estimated from their colours using correlations between absorption line indices and colours. For example, age-sensitive absorption line indices can be estimated from (u − r) or (g − r) colours and metallicity-sensitive ones from (u − z) or (g − z). This is useful for studying the stellar populations of distant galaxies, especially for statistical investigations.
Key words: galaxies: stellar content / galaxies: formation / galaxies: evolution
© ESO, 2011