Volume 576, April 2015
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Published online||02 April 2015|
Excitation properties of galaxies with the highest [O iii]/[O ii] ratios
No evidence for massive escape of ionizing photons⋆
LUTH, Observatoire de Meudon,
2 Main Astronomical Observatory, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Zabolotnoho 27, 03680 Kyiv, Ukraine
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70264, Méx. D.F., 04510 México, Mexico
Received: 21 November 2014
Accepted: 3 February 2015
The possibility that star-forming galaxies may leak ionizing photons is at the heart of many present-day studies that investigate the reionization of the Universe. We test this hypothesis on local blue compact dwarf galaxies of very high excitation. We assembled a sample of such galaxies by examining the spectra from data releases 7 and 10 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We argue that reliable conclusions cannot be based on strong lines alone, and adopt a strategy that includes important weak lines such as [O i] and the high-excitation He ii and [Ar iv] lines. Our analysis is based on purely observational diagrams and on a comparison of photoionization models with well-chosen emission-line ratio diagrams. We show that spectral energy distributions from current stellar population synthesis models cannot account for all the observational constraints, which led us to mimick several scenarios that could explain the data. These include the additional presence of hard X-rays or of shocks. We find that only ionization-bounded models (or models with an escape fraction of ionizing photons lower than 10%) are able to simultaneously explain all the observational constraints.
Key words: stars: atmospheres / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: starburst
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2015
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