VI. Analysis of the 2MASS Second Incremental Release Catalogs

7. Comparison to External Catalogs and Models

g. Number Of Galaxies Versus Galactic Latitude

This analysis examines how the number of galaxies per square degree varies with galactic latitude, and also presents figures showing the brighter galaxies in the Extended Source Catalog (XSC).

We selected all sources in the XSC with g_score 1.4 and binned them vs. magnitude and galactic latitude. We use the k_m_7 magnitude. We normalized the counts by the number of Atlas Images in the same bins of glat. We used an "overlap-removed" area of 0.0332 square degrees per Atlas Image to convert to galaxies per square degree.

In Figure 1 the raw numbers show clearly the incompleteness of the fainter magnitude bins at low galactic latitudes. The incompleteness below |glat| ~ 10° is strong for the 13.0-13.5 mag bin, noticeable for the 12.5-13.0 mag bin, and nearly vanishes for galaxies brighter than 12.5 mag.

This variation can be quantified by computing the variation from the mean density above 30° in Figure 2. The bin 12.0-12.5 mag is underdense only for the glat -10° to 0° bin, with a normal density for the glat 0° to 10° bin. Sources brighter than 12.0 mag show an overdensity below |glat|=10°, due to galactic sources masquerading as external galaxies.

Figure 1Figure 2

In Figure 3 we have plotted all galaxies brighter than 12.0 mag, and in Figure 4, all galaxies with 12.0 < k_m_7 < 12.5 mag. It is instructive to "blink" between those two figures. Figure 3 shows that the overdensity of bright "galaxies" comes from sources within glon ±60° glat and ±10°. Figure 4 shows that the galaxy catalog is probably incomplete for 12.0-12.5 mag only within glat ~±10° and glon of ~±60°.

Figure 3Figure 4

Except for that small region, it is not immediately clear that the galaxy catalog is incomplete in the Galactic plane in either plot. The clumps of sources at glon ±90° in the Galactic plane look much like the clumps away from the plane. Hence the underdensity for glat -10° to 0° could simply reflect the global distribution of galaxies, coupled with the incompleteness due to the small region around the Galactic center.

Figures 5-7 below show successively lower magnitude ranges are given, demonstrating the growth of the Zone of Avoidance at fainter magnitudes:

Figure 5Figure 6Figure 7
12.8<k_m_7<13.013.4<k_m_7<13.5 13.9<k_m_7<14.0

To view a "movie" of all these figures, click here.

[Last Updated: 2000 January 20 by T. Chester. Modified 2000 Aug 30 by S. Van Dyk.]

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