Development of a new galaxy classification technique and its application to the zCOSMOS survey

Coppa, Graziano (2010) Development of a new galaxy classification technique and its application to the zCOSMOS survey, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Astronomia, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2838.
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The purpose of this Thesis is to develop a robust and powerful method to classify galaxies from large surveys, in order to establish and confirm the connections between the principal observational parameters of the galaxies (spectral features, colours, morphological indices), and help unveil the evolution of these parameters from $z \sim 1$ to the local Universe. Within the framework of zCOSMOS-bright survey, and making use of its large database of objects ($\sim 10\,000$ galaxies in the redshift range $0 < z \lesssim 1.2$) and its great reliability in redshift and spectral properties determinations, first we adopt and extend the \emph{classification cube method}, as developed by Mignoli et al. (2009), to exploit the bimodal properties of galaxies (spectral, photometric and morphologic) separately, and then combining together these three subclassifications. We use this classification method as a test for a newly devised statistical classification, based on Principal Component Analysis and Unsupervised Fuzzy Partition clustering method (PCA+UFP), which is able to define the galaxy population exploiting their natural global bimodality, considering simultaneously up to 8 different properties. The PCA+UFP analysis is a very powerful and robust tool to probe the nature and the evolution of galaxies in a survey. It allows to define with less uncertainties the classification of galaxies, adding the flexibility to be adapted to different parameters: being a fuzzy classification it avoids the problems due to a hard classification, such as the classification cube presented in the first part of the article. The PCA+UFP method can be easily applied to different datasets: it does not rely on the nature of the data and for this reason it can be successfully employed with others observables (magnitudes, colours) or derived properties (masses, luminosities, SFRs, etc.). The agreement between the two classification cluster definitions is very high. ``Early'' and ``late'' type galaxies are well defined by the spectral, photometric and morphological properties, both considering them in a separate way and then combining the classifications (classification cube) and treating them as a whole (PCA+UFP cluster analysis). Differences arise in the definition of outliers: the classification cube is much more sensitive to single measurement errors or misclassifications in one property than the PCA+UFP cluster analysis, in which errors are ``averaged out'' during the process. This method allowed us to behold the \emph{downsizing} effect taking place in the PC spaces: the migration between the blue cloud towards the red clump happens at higher redshifts for galaxies of larger mass. The determination of $M_{\mathrm{cross}}$ the transition mass is in significant agreement with others values in literature.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Coppa, Graziano
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze matematiche, fisiche ed astronomiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
galaxy surveys; classification methods; galaxy formation and evolution
Data di discussione
13 Aprile 2010

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