The near-infrared number counts and luminosity functions of local galaxies

Gyula P. Szokoly, Mark U. Subbarao, Andrew J. Connolly, Bahram Mobasher

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61 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents a wide-field near-infrared (K-band) survey in two fields: SA 68 and Lynx 2. The survey covers an area of 0.6 deg2, complete to K = 16.5. A total of 867 galaxies are detected in this survey of which 175 have available redshifts. The near-infrared number counts to K = 16.5 mag are estimated from the complete photometric survey and are found to be in close agreement with other available studies. The sample is corrected for incompleteness in redshift space, using selection function in the form of a Fermi-Dirac distribution. This is then used to estimate the local near-infrared luminosity function (IRLF) of galaxies. A Schechter fit to the infrared data gives MK* = -25.1 ± 0.3, α = -1.3 ± 0.2, and φ* = (1.5 ± 0.5) × 10-3 Mpc-3 (for H0 = 50 km s-1 Mpc-1 and q0 = 0.5). When reduced to α = -1, this agrees with other available estimates of the local IRLF. We find a steeper slope for the faint end of the infrared luminosity function when compared to previous studies. This is interpreted as being due to the presence of a population of faint but evolved (metal-rich) galaxies in the local universe. However, it is not from the same population as the faint blue galaxies found in the optical surveys. The characteristic magnitude (MK*) of the local IRLF indicates that the bright red galaxies (MK ∼ -27 mag) have a space density of ≤5 × 10-5 Mpc-3 and, hence, are not likely to be local objects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART I
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Cosmology: Observations
  • Galaxies: Luminosity function, mass function
  • Galaxies: Photometry
  • Galaxies: Statistics
  • Infrared: Galaxies - Surveys © 1998. The american astronomical society. All rights reserved

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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