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2000MNRAS.316..559R - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 316, 559-568 (2000/August-2)

Gas properties of HII and starburst galaxies: relation with the stellar population.


Abstract (from CDS):

We study the gas emission of galaxies with active star formation, consisting mostly of Hii and starburst galaxies, as well as some Seyfert 2 galaxies, and determine chemical and physical parameters. The data consist of 19 high signal-to-noise ratio optical templates, a result of grouping 185 emission-line galaxy spectra. Underlying stellar population models (from Raimann et al.) were subtracted from the templates in order to isolate the pure emission component.

We analyse the distribution of these improved signal-to-noise ratio emission spectra in diagnostic diagrams and find that the Hii templates show a smaller spread in log([Oiii]/Hβ) values than the individual galaxies, apparently as a result of the population subtraction and a better signal-to-noise ratio. We thus suggest the template sequence as a fiducial observational locus for Hii galaxies which can be used as reference for models. The sequence of line ratios presented by the Hii galaxies in the diagram log([Oiii]λ5007/Hβ) versus log([Nii]λ6584/Hα) is primarily owing to the gas metallicity, of which the log([Nii]/Hα) ratio is a direct estimator. We also study the properties of the starburst galaxies and those intermediate between Hii and starburst galaxies, which are more metal rich and sit on more massive galaxies.

We discuss the present results in the frame of a recently proposed equivalent-width diagnostic diagram for emission-line galaxies (by Rola et al.) and conclude that the observed ranges in W([Oii])/W(Hβ) and W(Hβ) are mostly owing to the non-ionizing stellar population contribution. We propose that W(Hβ) be used as an estimator of this contribution to the continuum, and briefly discuss implications to the cosmological use of Hii galaxies.

Abstract Copyright: 2000, Royal Astronomical Society

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: abundances - galaxies: compact - galaxies: ISM - galaxies: nuclei - galaxies: starburst - galaxies: stellar content 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2000.03532.x

Simbad objects: 19

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