Near-infrared imaging of 222 nearby Hδ-strong galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Michael L. Balogh, Chris Miller, Robert Nichol, Ann Zabludoff, Tomo Goto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We present UFTI K-band imaging observations of 222 galaxies that are selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to have unusually strong Hδ absorption equivalent widths, Wo(Hδ) > 4 Å. Using GIM2D, the images are fitted with two-dimensional surface-brightness models consisting of a simple disc and bulge component to derive the fraction of luminosity in the bulge B/T. We find that the galaxies with weak or absent Hα or [O II]λ3727 emission (known as k+a galaxies) are predominantly bulge-dominated (with a mode of B/T ∼ 0.6), while galaxies with nebular emission [known as e(a) galaxies] are mostly disc-dominated (B/T ∼ 0.1). The morphologies and (r - k) colours of most k+a galaxies are inconsistent with the hypothesis that they result from the truncation of star formation in normal, spiral galaxies. However, their (u - g) and (r - k) colours, as well as their Hδ line strengths, form a sequence that is well matched by a model in which >5 per cent of the stellar mass has been produced in a recent starburst. The lack of scatter in the dust-sensitive (r - k) colours suggests that the unusual spectra of k+a galaxies ate not due to the effects of dust. The e(a) galaxies, on the other hand, have a colour distribution that is distinct from the k+a population, and typical of normal or dusty (τV ∼ 2) spiral galaxies. We conclude that many e(a) galaxies are not progenitors of k+a galaxies, but are a separate phenomenon. Both k+a and e(a) galaxies reside in environments (characterized by the local density of galaxies brighter than Mr = -20) that are typical of normal galaxies and that are inconsistent with overdense regions like rich galaxy clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-609
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 21 2005


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: stellar content
  • Galaxies: structure
  • Infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Near-infrared imaging of 222 nearby Hδ-strong galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this