Study of star-forming galaxies in SDSS up to redshift 0.4
I. Metallicity evolution
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200 La Laguna, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
2 Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de la Laguna, Spain
3 Departamento de Física, Escuela Superior de Física y Matemática, IPN, Mexico D.F., Mexico
4 Herschel Science Center, INSA/ESAC, Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 2 July 2009
Context. The chemical composition of the gas in galaxies over cosmic time provides a very important tool for understanding galaxy evolution. Although there are many studies at high redshift, they are rather scarce at lower redshifts. However, low redshift studies can provide important clues about the evolution of galaxies, furnishing the required link between the local and high redshift universe. In this work, we focus on the metallicity of the gas of star-forming galaxies at low redshift, looking for signs of chemical evolution.
Aims. We aim to analyze the metallicity contents star-forming galaxies of similar luminosities and masses at different redshifts. With this purpose, we present a study of the metallicity of relatively massive (log(Mstar/) ≳ 10.5) star forming galaxies from SDSS–DR5 (Sloan Digital Sky Survey-data release 5), using different redshift intervals from 0.04 to 0.4.
Methods. We used data processed with the STARLIGHT spectral synthesis code, correcting the fluxes for dust extinction, estimating metallicities using the R23 method, and segregating the samples with respect to the value of the [N ii] λ6583/[O ii] λ3727 line ratio in order to break the R23 degeneracy selecting the upper branch. We analyze the luminosity and mass-metallicity relations, and the effect of the Sloan fiber diameter looking for possible biases.
Results. By dividing our redshift samples in intervals of similar magnitude and comparing them, significant signs of metallicity evolution are found. Metallicity correlates inversely with redshift: from redshift 0 to 0.4 a decrement of ~0.1 dex in 12 + log(O/H) is found.
Key words: galaxies: abundances / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: starburst
© ESO, 2009