A Catalog of the Most Optically Luminous Galaxies at z < 0.3: Super Spirals, Super Lenticulars, Super Post-mergers, and Giant Ellipticals

July 2019 • 2019ApJS..243...14O

Authors • Ogle, Patrick M. • Lanz, Lauranne • Appleton, Philip N. • Helou, George • Mazzarella, Joseph

Abstract • We present a catalog of the 1525 most optically luminous galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey with r-band luminosity L r > 8L* and redshift z < 0.3, including 84 super spirals, 15 super lenticulars, 14 super post-merger galaxies, and 1400 giant ellipticals. With mass in stars of 1011.3-1012 M , super spirals and lenticulars are the most massive disk galaxies currently known. The specific star formation rates of super spirals place them on or below the star-forming main sequence. They must have formed stars at a high rate throughout their history in order to grow their massive, gigantic stellar disks and maintain their blue u - r integrated colors. Their disks are red on the inside and blue on the outside, consistent with inside-out growth. They tend to have small bulge-to-total (B/T) r-band luminosity ratios, characteristic of disk building via minor mergers and cold accretion. A large percentage of super disk galaxies (41%) have double nuclei, double disks, or other signatures of ongoing mergers. Most (72%) are found in moderate- to low-density environments, while the rest are found at the outskirts of clusters. It is likely that super spirals survive in these environments because they continue to accrete cold gas and experience only minor mergers at late times, by virtue of their enormous masses and angular momenta. We suggest that super post-mergers are the product of super spiral major mergers and may be the precursors of some giant elliptical galaxies found in low-density environments. We present two new gravitational lens candidates in an appendix.


IPAC Authors


Phil Appleton

Senior Scientist

George Helou

IPAC Executive Director

Joe Mazzarella

Senior Scientist