Mariska Kriek

Associate Professor of Astronomy  |  University of California, Berkeley


A GNIRS Survey for Massive Galaxies at z~2.5 (2005-2010)

Red galaxies make up more than 2/3 of the most massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 (van Dokkum et al. 2006). As most of these galaxies are beyond the limits of optical spectroscopy they were previously underrepresented in samples of high-redshift galaxies. To obtain a full spectroscopic census of the universe at 2 < z < 3 we have conducted a near-infrared spectroscopic survey of 36 massive galaxies with GNIRS on Gemini-South. This program was chosen as a GNIRS Key Science Program by the NOAO Director. On this page we give an overview of the survey and provide access to the fully reduced spectra and corresponding data products. A full description the survey and data products can be found in Kriek et al. (2008).

Sample Selection

Nearly all galaxies observed as part of our survey are selected from the MUlti-wavelength Survey by Yale-Chile (MUSYC). The galaxies were selected to be bright in K (K < 19.7), to have photometric redshifts roughly between 2 and 3, and to be representative for a mass-limited sample at 2 < z < 3 (see Kriek et al. 2008).


The galaxies were observed during six observing runs in September 2004, May 2005, January 2006, February 2006, December 2006, and March 2007.

All observation were taken with the Gemini Near-InfraRed Spectrograph (GNIRS) in cross-dispersed mode, in combination with the 32 lines/mm grating and the 0.675'' slit. This setting provides a wavelength coverage of 1-2.5 micron, corresponding to the full rest-frame optical wavelength regime for z~2.5 galaxies. We applied a blind offset from a nearby star (< 60''), to center on the science target. We observed the galaxies following an ABA'B' (+1.5,-1.2,+1.2,-1.5 arcsec) dither pattern, such that we can use the average of the previous and following exposure as sky frame. This has two advantages above the classic ABBA dither pattern. First, it reduces the noise in the sky image. Second, time variations of the sky emission are partly canceled out. We used individual integration of 10 minutes and integrated for ~2 hours on average per galaxy.

For telluric standards we choose nearby AV0 stars. For continuum spectroscopy it is crucial to match the airmass of the telluric and science target. We observed tellurics about every 2 hours and linearly combined the spectra of the stars -- observed both before and after a science sequence -- to perfectly match the airmass of the galaxy.


The reduction is performed using a custom IDL pipeline. In summary, we subtract the sky, mask cosmic rays and bad pixels, straighten the spectra, combine the individual exposures, stitch the orders, and finally correct for the response spectrum. A detailed description of how to reduce GNIRS cross-dispersed spectra of faint galaxies can be found in Kriek et al. (2006).


  1. 1D and 2D spectra, see Kriek et al. (2008)

  2. Modeling parameters, see Kriek et al. (2008)

  3. Photometry, see Kriek et al. (2008)

  4. HST/NICMOS imaging, see van Dokkum et al. (2008) and Kriek et al. (2009)


  1. i.“Well-Sampled Far-Infrared Spectral Energy Distributions of z~2 Galaxies: Evidence for Scaled up Cool Galaxies”
    Muzzin, A., van Dokkum, P., Kriek, M., Labbé, I., Cury, I., Marchesini, D., & Franx, M. 2010, ApJ, 725, 742

  2. ii.“How Massive are Massive Compact Galaxies?”
    Muzzin, A., van Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., Marchesini, D., Kriek, M., & Labbé, I. 2009 ApJ, 706, L188

  3. iii.“The Hubble Sequence beyond z=2 for Massive Galaxies: Contrasting Large Star-Forming and Compact Quiescent Galaxies”
    Kriek, M., Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., Illingworth, G. D., & Magee, D. K. 2009, ApJ, 705, L71

  4. iv.“A Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Survey of K-selected Galaxies at z~2.3: Comparison of Stellar Population Synthesis Codes and Constraints from the Rest-Frame NIR”
    Muzzin, A., Marchesini, D., van Dokkum, P. G., Labbé, I., Kriek, M., & Franx, M. 2009, ApJ, 701, 1839

  5. v.“A High Stellar Velocity Dispersion for a Compact Massive Galaxy at z=2.186”
    van Dokkum, P. G., Kriek, M., & Franx, M. 2009, Nature, 460, 717

  6. vi.“An Ultra-Deep Near-Infrared Spectrum of a Compact Quiescent Galaxy at z=2.2”
    Kriek, M., van Dokkum, P. G., Labbé, I., Franx, M., Illingworth, G. D., Marchesini, D., & Quadri, R. F. 2009, ApJ, 700, 221

  7. vii.“The Relation Between Compact, Quiescent High Redshift Galaxies and Massive Nearby Elliptical Galaxies: Evidence for Hierarchical, Inside-Out Growth”
    Bezanson, R., van Dokkum, P. G., Tal, T., Marchesini, D., Kriek, M., Franx, M., & Coppi, P. 2009, ApJ, 697, 1290

  8. viii."The Detection of a Red Sequence of Massive Field Galaxies at z~2.3 and its Evolution to z~0"
    Kriek, M., van der Wel, A., van Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., & Illingworth, G. D. 2008, ApJ, 682, 896

  9. ix."Confirmation of the Remarkable Compactness of Massive Quiescent Galaxies at z~2.3: Early-Type Galaxies did not form in a Simple Monolithic Collapse"
    van Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., Kriek, M., Holden, B., Illingworth, G. D., Magee, D., Bouwens, R., Marchesini, D., Quadri, R., Rudnick, G., Taylor, E. N, & Toft, S. 2008, ApJ, 677, L5

  10. x."A Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Survey of K-selected Galaxies at z~2.3: Redshifts and Implications for Broadband Photometric Studies"
    Kriek, M., van Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., Illingworth, G. D., Marchesini, D., Quadri, R., Rudnick, G., Taylor, E. N., Förster Schreiber, N. M., Gawiser, E., Labbé, I., Lira, P., & Wuyts, S. 2008, ApJ, 677, 219

  11. xi."The Origin of Line emission in Massive z~2.3 Galaxies: Evidence for Cosmic Downsizing of AGN Host Galaxies"
    Kriek, M., van Dokkum, P.G., Franx, M., Illingworth, G.D., Coppi, P., Förster Schreiber, N. M., Gawiser, E., Labbé, I., Lira, P., Marchesini, D., Quadri, R., Rudnick, G., Taylor, E.N., Urry, C.M.,& van der Werf, P., 2007, ApJ, 669, 776

  12. xii."Spectroscopic Identification of Massive Galaxies at z ~ 2.3 with Strongly Suppressed Star Formation"
    Kriek, M., van Dokkum, P.G., Franx, M., Quadri, R., Gawiser, E., Herrera, D., Illingworth, G.D., Labbé, I., Lira, P., Marchesini, D., Rix, H.-W., Rudnick, G., Taylor, E.N., Toft, S., Urry, C.M., & Wuyts, S., 2006, ApJ, 649, L71

  13. xiii."Direct Measurements of the Stellar Continua and Balmer/4000 Angstrom Breaks of Red z > 2 Galaxies: Redshifts and Improved Constraints on Stellar Populations"
    Kriek, M., van Dokkum, P. G., Franx, M., Förster Schreiber, N. M., Gawiser, E., Illingworth, G. D., Labbé, I., Marchesini, D., Quadri, R., Rix, H.-W., Rudnick, G., Toft, S., van der Werf, P., Wuyts, S. 2006, ApJ, 645, 44

  14. xiv."Gemini Near Infrared Spectrograph Observations of a Red Star Forming Galaxy at z=2.225: Evidence for Shock-Ionization due to a Galactic Wind"
    van Dokkum, P.G., Kriek, M., Rodgers, B., Franx, M., Puxley, P. 2005, ApJ, 622, L13

Home       CV       Publications       Research       Downloads