EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 401, Number 1, April I 2003
Page(s) 141 - 159
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030101

A&A 401, 141-159 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030101

Nebular abundances of nearby southern dwarf galaxies

Henry Lee1, 2, E. K. Grebel1 and P. W. Hodge3

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2  Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada
3  Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195-1580, USA

(Received 30 August 2002 / Accepted 15 January 2003 )

The results of optical spectroscopy of $\ion{H}{II}$ regions in a sample of southern dwarf irregulars consisting of five dwarf galaxies in the Centaurus A group, four dwarfs in the Sculptor group, and eight additional dwarf galaxies are presented. Oxygen abundances are derived using the direct method where is detected; otherwise, abundances are derived with the bright-line method using the McGaugh and the Pilyugin calibrations. ESO358-G060 has the lowest oxygen abundance (12+log(O/H) = 7.32) in the sample, which is comparable to the value for the second most metal-poor galaxy known (SBS 0335-052). In all, new oxygen abundances are reported for nine dwarf galaxies; updated values are presented for the remaining galaxies. Derived oxygen abundances are in the range from 3% to 26% of the solar value. Oxygen abundances for dwarfs in the southern sample are consistent with the metallicity-luminosity relationship defined by a control sample of dwarf irregulars with abundances and well-measured distances. However, NGC 5264 appears to have an (upper branch) oxygen abundance approximately two to three times higher than other dwarfs at similar luminosities. Nitrogen-to-oxygen and neon-to-oxygen abundance ratios are also reported; in particular, IC 1613 and IC 5152 show elevated nitrogen-to-oxygen ratios for their oxygen abundances.

Key words: galaxies: abundances -- galaxies: clusters: individual: Centaurus A, Sculptor -- galaxies: dwarf -- galaxies: evolution  -- galaxies: irregular

Offprint request: H. Lee, lee@mpia.de

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