The nuclear near-infrared spectral properties of nearby galaxies

R. E. Mason*, A. Rodríguez-Ardila, L. Martins, R. Riffel, O. González Martín, C. Ramos Almeida, D. Ruschel Dutra, L. C. Ho, K. Thanjavur, H. Flohic, A. Alonso-Herrero, P. Lira, R. McDermid, R. A. Riffel, R. P. Schiavon, C. Winge, M. D. Hoenig, E. Perlman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present spectra of the nuclear regions of 50 nearby (D = 1-92 Mpc, median = 20 Mpc) galaxies of morphological types E to Sm. The spectra, obtained with the Gemini Near-IR Spectrograph on the Gemini North telescope, cover a wavelength range of approximately 0.85-2.5 μm at R ∼ 1300-1800. There is evidence that most of the galaxies host an active galactic nucleus (AGN), but the range of AGN luminosities (log (L2 - 10 kev [erg s-1]) = 37.0-43.2) in the sample means that the spectra display a wide variety of features. Some nuclei, especially the Seyferts, exhibit a rich emission-line spectrum. Other objects, in particular the type 2 Low Ionization Nuclear Emission Region galaxies, show just a few, weak emission lines, allowing a detailed view of the underlying stellar population. These spectra display numerous absorption features sensitive to the stellar initial mass function, as well as molecular bands arising in cool stars, and many other atomic absorption lines. We compare the spectra of subsets of galaxies known to be characterized by intermediate-age and old stellar populations, and find clear differences in their absorption lines and continuum shapes. We also examine the effect of atmospheric water vapor on the signal-to-noise ratio achieved in regions between the conventional NIR atmospheric windows, which are of potential interest to those planning observations of redshifted emission lines or other features affected by telluric H2O. Further exploitation of this data set is in progress, and the reduced spectra and data reduction tools are made available to the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Volume217
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: nuclei
  • galaxies: Seyfert
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • infrared: galaxies

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