Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 487, 901-920 (2008/9-1)
Luminosity-metallicity relation for dIrr galaxies in the near-infrared.
SAVIANE I., IVANOV V.D., HELD E.V., ALLOIN D., RICH R.M., BRESOLIN F. and RIZZI L.
Abstract (from CDS):
The luminosity-metallicity relation is one of the fundamental constraints in the study of galaxy evolution; yet none of the relations available today has been universally accepted by the community. The present work is a first step to collect homogeneous abundances and near-infrared (NIR) luminosities for a sample of dwarf irregular (dIrr) galaxies, located in nearby groups. The use of NIR luminosities is intended to provide a better proxy to mass than the blue luminosities commonly used in the literature; in addition, selecting group members reduces the impact of uncertain distances. Accurate abundances are derived to assess the galaxy metallicity. Optical spectra are collected for H ii regions in the dIrrs, allowing the determination of oxygen abundances by means of the temperature-sensitive method. For each dIrr galaxy H-band imaging is performed and the total magnitudes are measured via surface photometry. This high-quality database allows us to build a well-defined luminosity-metallicity relation in the range -13≥MH≥-20. The scatter around its linear fit is reduced to 0.11 dex, the lowest of all relations currently available. There might exist a difference between the relation for dIrrs and the relation for giant galaxies, although a firm conclusion should await direct abundance determinations for a significant sample of massive galaxies. This new dataset provides an improved luminosity-metallicity relation, based on a standard NIR band, for dwarf star-forming galaxies. The relation can now be compared with some confidence to the predictions of models of galaxy evolution. Exciting follow-ups of this work are (a) exploring groups with higher densities, (b) exploring nearby galaxy clusters to probe environmental effects on the luminosity-metallicity relation, and (c) deriving direct oxygen abundances in the central regions of star-forming giant galaxies, to settle the question of a possible dichotomy between the chemical evolution of dwarfs and that of massive galaxies.
galaxies: fundamental parameters - infrared: galaxies - galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: irregular - galaxies: ISM
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