Nearby galaxies in the 2 μm all sky survey. I. K-band luminosity functions

Nick Devereux, S. P. Willner, M. L.N. Ashby, C. N.A. Willmer, Paul Hriljac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Differential Ks -band luminosity functions (LFs) are presented for a complete sample of 1613 nearby bright galaxies segregated by visible morphology. The LF for late-type spirals follows a power law that rises toward low luminosities whereas the LFs for ellipticals, lenticulars, and bulge-dominated spirals are peaked and decline toward both higher and lower luminosities. Each morphological type (E, S0, S0/a-Sab, Sb-Sbc, Sc-Scd) contributes approximately equally to the overall Ks -band luminosity density of galaxies in the local universe. Type averaged bulge/disk ratios are used to subtract the disk component leading to the prediction that the K s -band LF for bulges is bimodal with ellipticals dominating the high luminosity peak, comprising 60% of the bulge luminosity density in the local universe with the remaining 40% contributed by lenticulars and the bulges of spirals. Overall, bulges contribute 30% of the galaxy luminosity density at Ks in the local universe with spiral disks making up the remainder. If bulge luminosities indicate central black hole (BH) masses, then our results predict that the BH mass function is also bimodal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-969
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Galaxies: bulges
  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
  • Galaxies: spiral
  • Infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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