Bulgeless disks, dark galaxies, inverted color gradients, and other expected phenomena at higher z. The chromatic surface brightness modulation (CMOD) effect

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Papaderos, Polychronis
IAA authors: 
Breda, Iris
Papaderos, Polychronis;Östlin, Göran;Breda, Iris
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication type: 
The spectral energy distribution (SED) of galaxies varies both between galaxies and within them. For instance, early-type spiral galaxies have a red bulge surrounded by a bluer star-forming disk with H II regions within. When observing redshifted galaxies, a given photometric filter probes light at a bluer rest frame, and in relating the observed magnitudes to the rest frame of the filter, so-called k corrections are commonly applied to account for the relative dimming or brightening in addition to the pure distance effect. The amount of correction depends on the shape of the spectrum (SED), so different k corrections apply to galaxies of different spectral types. This is, however, only part of the story, since any galaxy with a spatially non-homogeneous SED will experience a spatially varying relative dimming or brightening as a function of observed wavelength. Also, the morphological appearance of galaxies will therefore change with redshift. For instance, an early spiral galaxy observed in the V band would show a prominent bulge at z = 0, whereas, if at redshift z ∼ 1, the V filter probes emission in the rest-frame near-ultraviolet where the bulge is faint and the disk relatively brighter, thus the galaxy may appear as bulgeless. One popular way of studying spatial variations in the stellar population and dust content of galaxies is the use of color maps. For star-forming galaxies that have an appreciable contribution from nebular emission (lines and continuum), an additional effect is that the shifting of strong features in or out of filters will result in a non-monotonous color evolution with redshift. Hence, unlike the effects of distance, cosmological surface brightness dimming, and gravitational lensing, which are all achromatic, the fact that most galaxies have a spatially varying SED leads to a chromatic surface brightness modulation (CMOD) with redshift. While the CMOD effects are in principle easy to grasp, they affect multicolor imaging surveys and photometric properties derived from such surveys in a complex fashion. Properties such as the bulge-to-disk ratio, Sérsic exponent, light concentration, asymmetry index and effective radius, radial color gradients, and stellar mass determinations from SED fitting will depend on the redshift, the filters employed, and the rest-frame 2D SED patterns in a galaxy and will bias results inferred on galaxy evolution across cosmic time (e.g., the evolution of the mass-size, bulge-supermassive black hole, and Tully-Fisher relation), and potentially also weak lensing, if these effects are not properly taken into account. In this article we quantify the CMOD effects for idealized galaxies built from spectral synthesis models and from galaxies with observed integral field spectroscopy, and we show that they are significant and should be taken into account in studies of resolved galaxy properties and their evolution with redshift.
ADS Bibcode: 
galaxies: structure;galaxies: photometry;galaxies: high-redshift;galaxies: spiral;galaxies: bulges;galaxies: evolution;Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies