261 research outputs found

    Shocks or Photoionization: Direct Temperature Measurements of the Low-Ionization Gas in Quiescent Galaxies

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    The ionization mechanism of the low-ionization gas in quiescent red-sequence galaxies has been a long-standing puzzle. Direct temperature measurements would put strong constraints on this issue. We carefully selected a sample of quiescent red-sequence galaxies from Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We bin them into three bins with different [N II]/H 伪 and [N鈥塈I]/[O鈥塈I] ratios, and we measure the temperature-sensitive [O鈥塈II] 位4363, [N鈥塈I] 位5755, [S鈥塈I] 位位4068, 4076, and [O鈥塈I] 位位7320, 7330 lines in the stacked spectra. The [S鈥塈I] doublet ratios indicate the line-emitting gas is in the low-density regime (鈭10鈥200 cm鈭3). We found the temperatures in the S+ zones to be around 8000 K, the temperatures in the O+ zone to be around 1.1鈥1.5 脳 104鈥塊, and the temperatures in the N+ zones to be around 1鈥1.4脳 104鈥塊. The [O鈥塈II] 位4363 line is not robustly detected. We found that the extinction corrections derived from Balmer decrements would yield unphysical relationships between the temperatures of the S+ zones and O+ zones, indicating that the extinction is significantly overestimated by the measured Balmer decrements. We compared these line ratios with model predictions for three ionization mechanisms: photoionization by hot evolved stars, shocks, and turbulent mixing layers. For the photoionization and shock models, the hot temperatures inferred from [S鈥塱i] and [N鈥塈I] coronal-to-strong line ratios require metallicities to be significantly subsolar. However, the [N II]/[O鈥塈I] line ratios require them to be supersolar. None of the models could simultaneously explain all of the observed line ratios, neither could their combinations do

    Nitrogen-to-Oxygen Abundance Ratio Variation In Quiescent Galaxies

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    For the first time, we establish a gas phase abundance pattern calibration for quiescent galaxies using optical emission lines. Quiescent galaxies have warm ionized gas showing line ratios similar to low-ionization nuclear emission line regions (LINER). The ionization mechanism for the gas is still an unsettled puzzle. Despite the uncertainty in the ionization mechanism, we argue that we can still infer certain gas phase abundance pattern from first principles. We show that the relative trend in N/O abundance can still be reliably measured based on [NII]6548,6583/[OII]3726,3729 and a direct measurement of the electron temperature. We construct a composite direct temperature tracer that is independent of extinction correction, by combining [OII] 3726,3729/[OII] 7320,7330 and [SII] 6716,6730/[SII] 4068,4076 and canceling out the effect of extinction, as these involve the easiest-to-detect auroral lines in quiescent galaxies. With theoretical modeling, we establish the calibration for N/O based on [NII]/[OII] and a temperature tracer. We apply this technique to quiescent galaxies in the nearby Universe and find they span a range of 0.35 dex in N/O ratio from 17-percentile to 83-percentiles of the whole distribution. These measurements can shed light on the chemical enrichment history of the warm ionized gas in quiescent galaxies.Comment: 9 pages, 7 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRA

    Shocks or Photoionization: Direct Temperature Measurements of the Low-Ionization Gas in Quiescent Galaxies

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    The ionization mechanism of the low-ionization gas in quiescent red sequence galaxies has been a long-standing puzzle. Direct temperature measurements would put strong constraints on this issue. We carefully selected a sample of quiescent red sequence galaxies from SDSS. We bin them into three bins with different [N II]/H{\alpha} and [N II]/[O II] ratios, and we measure the temperature-sensitive [O III] {\lambda}4363, [N II] {\lambda}5755, [S II] {\lambda}{\lambda}4068,4076, and [O II] {\lambda}{\lambda}7320,7330 lines in the stacked spectra. The [S II] doublet ratios indicate the line-emitting gas is in the low density regime (~10-100 cm3^{-3}).We found the temperatures in the S+ zones to be around 8000K, the temperatures in the O+ zones to be around 1.11.51041.1-1.5\times10^4K, and the temperatures in the N+ zones to be around 11.41041-1.4\times10^4K. The [O III] {\lambda}4363 line is not robustly detected. We found that the extinction corrections derived from Balmer decrements would yield unphysical relationships between the temperatures of the S+ zones and O+ zones, indicating that the extinction is significantly overestimated by the measured Balmer decrements. We compared these line ratios with model predictions for three ionization mechanisms: photoionization by hot evolved stars, shocks, and turbulent mixing layers. For both the photoionization and shock models, the hot temperatures inferred from [S II] and [N II] coronal-to-strong line ratios require metallicities to be significantly subsolar. However, the [N II]/[O II] line ratios require them to be supersolar. None of the models could simultaneously explain all of the observed line ratios, neither could their combinations do.Comment: 20 pages, 17 figures. Accepted by MNRA

    Nitrogen-to-Oxygen Abundance Ratio Variation in Quiescent Galaxies

    Get PDF
    For the first time, we establish a gas-phase abundance pattern calibration for quiescent galaxies using optical emission lines. Quiescent galaxies have warm ionized gas showing line ratios similar to low-ionization nuclear emission line regions. The ionization mechanism for the gas is still an unsettled puzzle. Despite the uncertainty in the ionization mechanism, we argue that we can still infer certain gas-phase abundance pattern from first principles. We show that the relative trend in N/O abundance can still be reliably measured based on [N鈥塈I] 位位6548,6583/[O鈥塈I] 位位3726,3729 and a direct measurement of the electron temperature. We construct a composite direct temperature tracer that is independent of extinction correction, by combining [O鈥塈I] 位位3726,3729/[O鈥塈I] 位7320,7330 and [S鈥塈I] 位位6716,6731/[S鈥塈I] 位4068,4076 and cancelling out the effect of extinction, as these involve the easiest-to-detect auroral lines in quiescent galaxies. With theoretical modelling, we establish the calibration for N/O based on [N鈥塈I]/[O鈥塈I] and a temperature tracer. We apply this technique to quiescent galaxies in the nearby Universe and find they span a range of 0.35 dex in N/O ratio from 17-percentile to 83-percentile of the whole distribution. These measurements can shed light on the chemical enrichment history of the warm ionized gas in quiescent galaxies

    Stellar Metallicity Gradients in SDSS galaxies

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    We infer stellar metallicity and abundance ratio gradients for a sample of red galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Main galaxy sample. Because this sample does not have multiple spectra at various radii in a single galaxy, we measure these gradients statistically. We separate galaxies into stellar mass bins, stack their spectra in redshift bins, and calculate the measured absorption line indices in projected annuli by differencing spectra in neighboring redshift bins. After determining the line indices, we use stellar population modeling from the EZ\_Ages software to calculate ages, metallicities, and abundance ratios within each annulus. Our data covers the central regions of these galaxies, out to slightly higher than 1Re1 R_{e}. We find detectable gradients in metallicity and relatively shallow gradients in abundance ratios, similar to results found for direct measurements of individual galaxies. The gradients are only weakly dependent on stellar mass, and this dependence is well-correlated with the change of ReR_e with mass. Based on this data, we report mean equivalent widths, metallicities, and abundance ratios as a function of mass and velocity dispersion for SDSS early-type galaxies, for fixed apertures of 2.5 kpc and of 0.5 ReR_e.Comment: 19 pages; 8 tables, 12 figures. Submitted to ApJ for publicatio

    Inside-out growth or inside-out quenching? clues from colour gradients of local galaxies

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    We constrain the spatial gradient of star formation history within galaxies using the colour gradients in NUV-u and u-i for a local spatially-resolved galaxy sample. By splitting each galaxy into an inner and an outer part, we find that most galaxies show negative gradients in these two colours. We first rule out dust extinction gradient and metallicity gradient as the dominant source for the colour gradient. Then using stellar population models, we explore variations in star formation history to explain the colour gradients. As shown by our earlier work, a two-phase SFH consisting of an early secular evolution (growth) phase and a subsequent rapid evolution (quenching) phase is necessary to explain the observed colour distributions among galaxies. We explore two different inside-out growth models and two different inside-out quenching models by varying parameters of the SFH between inner and outer regions of galaxies. Two of the models can explain the observed range of colour gradients in NUV-u and u-i colours. We further distinguish them using an additional constraint provided by the u-i colour gradient distribution, under the assumption of constant galaxy formation rate and a common SFH followed by most galaxies. We find the best model is an inside-out growth model in which the inner region has a shorter e-folding time scale in the growth phase than the outer region. More spatially resolved ultraviolet (UV) observations are needed to improve the significance of the result.Comment: 11 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in MNRA

    Metal-poor, Strongly Star-Forming Galaxies in the DEEP2 Survey: The Relationship between Stellar Mass, Temperature-based Metallicity, and Star Formation Rate

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    We report on the discovery of 28 z0.8z\approx0.8 metal-poor galaxies in DEEP2. These galaxies were selected for their detection of the weak [OIII]\lambda4363 emission line, which provides a "direct" measure of the gas-phase metallicity. A primary goal for identifying these rare galaxies is to examine whether the fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) between stellar mass, gas metallicity, and star formation rate (SFR) holds for low stellar mass and high SFR galaxies. The FMR suggests that higher SFR galaxies have lower metallicity (at fixed stellar mass). To test this trend, we combine spectroscopic measurements of metallicity and dust-corrected SFRs, with stellar mass estimates from modeling the optical photometry. We find that these galaxies are 1.050.611.05\pm0.61 dex above the z~1 stellar mass-SFR relation, and 0.230.230.23\pm0.23 dex below the local mass-metallicity relation. Relative to the FMR, the latter offset is reduced to 0.01 dex, but significant dispersion remains (0.29 dex with 0.16 dex due to measurement uncertainties). This dispersion suggests that gas accretion, star formation and chemical enrichment have not reached equilibrium in these galaxies. This is evident by their short stellar mass doubling timescale of 10075+310\approx100^{+310}_{-75} Myr that suggests stochastic star formation. Combining our sample with other z~1 metal-poor galaxies, we find a weak positive SFR-metallicity dependence (at fixed stellar mass) that is significant at 94.4% confidence. We interpret this positive correlation as recent star formation that has enriched the gas, but has not had time to drive the metal-enriched gas out with feedback mechanisms.Comment: Resubmitted to ApJ on March 6, 2015. Revised to discuss selection biases and methodologies, and address the former by including more metal-rich galaxies with robust non-detections of [OIII]4363. Primary results on FMR analyses are unchanged. Additional figures are included to illustrate selection biases; previous figures have been revised to improve presentatio
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