We have developed an analytical method based on forward-modelling techniques to characterize the high-mass end of the red sequence (RS) galaxy population at redshift z ~ 0.55, from the DR10 BOSS (Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey) CMASS spectroscopic sample, which comprises ~600 000 galaxies. The method, which follows an unbinned maximum likelihood approach, allows the deconvolution of the intrinsic CMASS colour-colour-magnitude distributions from photometric errors and selection effects. This procedure requires modelling the covariance matrix for the i-band magnitude, g - r colour and r - i colour using Stripe 82 multi-epoch data. Our results indicate that the error-deconvolved intrinsic RS distribution is consistent, within the photometric uncertainties, with a single point (<0.05 mag) in the colour-colour plane at fixed magnitude, for a narrow redshift slice. We have computed the high-mass end (0.55Mi ≲ -22) of the 0.55i-band RS luminosity function (RS LF) in several redshift slices within the redshift range 0.52 < z < 0.63. In this narrow redshift range, the evolution of the RS LF is consistent, within the uncertainties in the modelling, with a passively evolving model with Φ* = (7.248 ± 0.204) × 10-4 Mpc-3 mag-1, fading at a rate of 1.5 ± 0.4 mag per unit redshift. We report RS completeness as a function of magnitude and redshift in the CMASS sample, which will facilitate a variety of galaxy-evolution and clustering studies using BOSS. Our forward-modelling method lays the foundations for future studies using other dark-energy surveys like the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey or the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, which are affected by the same type of photometric blurring/selection effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science