Galaxy number counts from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey commissioning data

Naoki Yasuda, Masataka Fukugita, Vijay K. Narayanan, Robert H. Lupton, Iskra Strateva, Michael A. Strauss, Željko Ivezić, Rita S.J. Kim, David W. Hoog, David H. Weinberg, Kazuhiro Shimasaku, Jon Loveday, James Annis, Neta A. Bahcall, Michael Blanton, Jon Brinkmann, Robert J. Brunner, Andrew J. Connolly, István Csabai, Mamoru DoiMasaru Hamabe, Shin Ichi Ichikawa, Takashi Ichikawa, David E. Johnston, G. R. Knapp, Peter Z. Kunszt, D. Q. Lamb, Timothy A. Mckay, Jeffrey A. Munn, Robert C. Nichol, Sadanori Okamura, Donald P. Schneider, Gyula P. Szokoly, Michael S. Vogeley, Masaru Watanabe, Donald G. York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


We present bright galaxy number counts in five broad bands (u′, g′, r′, i′, z′) from imaging data taken during the commissioning phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The counts are derived from two independent stripes of imaging scans along the celestial equator, one each toward the northern and the southern Galactic cap, covering about 230 and 210 deg2, respectively. A careful study is made to verify the reliability of the photometric catalog. For galaxies brighter than r* = 16, the catalog produced by automated software is examined against eye inspection of all objects. Statistically meaningful results on the galaxy counts are obtained in the magnitude range 12 ≤ r* ≤ 21, using a sample of 900,000 galaxies. The counts from the two stripes differ by about 30% at magnitudes brighter than r* = 15.5, consistent with a local 2 σ fluctuation due to large-scale structure in the galaxy distribution. The shape of the number counts-magnitude relation brighter than r* = 16 is well characterized by N ∝ 100.6m, the relation expected for a homogeneous galaxy distribution in a "Euclidean" universe. In the magnitude range 16 < r* < 21, the galaxy counts from both stripes agree very well and follow the prediction of the no-evolution model, although the data do not exclude a small amount of evolution. We use empirically determined color transformations to derive the galaxy number counts in the B and I814 bands. We compute the luminosity density of the universe at zero redshift in the five SDSS bands and in the B band. We find ℒB = 2.4 ± 0.4 × 108 L h Mpc-3, for a reasonably wide range of parameters of the Schechter luminosity function in the B band.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1124
Number of pages21
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmology: observations


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