A large sample of Kohonen selected E+A (post-starburst) galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey ⋆
1 Türinger Landessternwarte, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
2 Universität Leipzig, Fakultät für Physik und Geowissenschaften, Linnestraße 5, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
3 Texture-Editor GbR, Dornröschenstraße 48, 81739 Munich, Germany
Received: 17 June 2016
Accepted: 20 October 2016
Context. The galaxy population in the contemporary Universe is characterised by a clear bimodality, blue galaxies with significant ongoing star formation and red galaxies with only a little. The migration between the blue and the red cloud of galaxies is an issue of active research. Post starburst (PSB) galaxies are thought to be observed in the short-lived transition phase.
Aims. We aim to create a large sample of local PSB galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to study their characteristic properties, particularly morphological features indicative of gravitational distortions and indications for active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Another aim is to present a tool set for an efficient search in a large database of SDSS spectra based on Kohonen self-organising maps (SOMs).
Methods. We computed a huge Kohonen SOM for ~ 106 spectra from SDSS data release 7. The SOM is made fully available, in combination with an interactive user interface, for the astronomical community. We selected a large sample of PSB galaxies taking advantage of the clustering behaviour of the SOM. The morphologies of both PSB galaxies and randomly selected galaxies from a comparison sample in SDSS Stripe 82 (S82) were inspected on deep co-added SDSS images to search for indications of gravitational distortions. We used the Portsmouth galaxy property computations to study the evolutionary stage of the PSB galaxies and archival multi-wavelength data to search for hidden AGNs.
Results. We compiled a catalogue of 2665 PSB galaxies with redshifts z < 0.4, among them 74 galaxies in S82 with EW(Hδ) > 3 Å and z < 0.25. In the colour-mass diagram, the PSB sample is clearly concentrated towards the region between the red and the blue cloud, in agreement with the idea that PSB galaxies represent the transitioning phase between actively and passively evolving galaxies. The relative frequency of distorted PSB galaxies is at least 57% for EW(Hδ) > 5 Å, significantly higher than in the comparison sample. The search for AGNs based on conventional selection criteria in the radio and MIR results in a low AGN fraction of ~ 2–3%. We confirm an MIR excess in the mean SED of the E+A sample that may indicate hidden AGNs, though other sources are also possible.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: starburst / galaxies: active / surveys / virtual observatory tools
The catalogue is available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/597/A134
© ESO, 2017