EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 437, Number 3, July III 2005
Page(s) 849 - 859
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041945

A&A 437, 849-859 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041945

Spectroscopic study of blue compact galaxies

V. Oxygen abundance and the metallicity-luminosity relation
F. Shi1, X. Kong1, 2, C. Li1 and F. Z. Cheng1

1  Center for Astrophysics, University of Science and Technology of China, 230026, PR China
    e-mail: sfemail@mail.ustc.edu.cn;xkong@ustc.edu.cn
2  National Astronomical Observatory, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan

(Received 3 September 2004 / Accepted 14 March 2005)

This is the fifth paper in a series studying the stellar components, star formation histories, star formation rates and metallicities of a blue compact galaxy (BCG) sample. Based on our high-quality ground-based spectroscopic observations, we have determined the electron temperatures, electron densities, nitrogen abundances and oxygen abundances for 72 star-forming BCGs in our sample, using different oxygen abundance indicators. The oxygen abundance covers the range $7.15 < \hbox{$12\,+\,{\rm log\,(O/H)}$ }< 9.0$, and nitrogen is found to be mostly a product of secondary nucleosynthesis for $\hbox{$12\,+\,{\rm log\,(O/H)}$ }>8.2$ and apparently a product of primary nucleosynthesis for $\hbox{$12\,+\,{\rm log\,(O/H)}$ }< 8.2$. To assess the possible systematic differences among different oxygen abundance indicators, we have compared oxygen abundances of BCGs obtained with the $T_{\rm e}$ method, R23 method, P method, N2 method and O3N2 method. The oxygen abundances derived from the $T_{\rm e}$ method are systematically lower by 0.1-0.25 dex than those derived from the strong line empirical abundance indicators, consistent with previous studies based on region samples. We confirm the existence of the metallicity-luminosity relation in BCGs over a large range of abundances and luminosities. Our sample of galaxies shows that the slope of the metallicity-luminosity relation for the luminous galaxies (~-0.05) is slightly shallower than that for the dwarf galaxies (~-0.17). An offset was found in the metallicity-luminosity relation of the local galaxies and that of the intermediate redshift galaxies. It shows that the metallicity-luminosity relation for the emission line galaxies at high redshift is displaced to lower abundances, higher luminosities, or both.

Key words: galaxies: abundances -- galaxies: starburst -- stars: formation

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