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

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    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
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal. Supplement Series
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


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


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