Volume 579, July 2015
|Number of page(s)||28|
|Published online||07 July 2015|
Hα imaging of the Herschel Reference Survey
The star formation properties of a volume-limited, K-band-selected sample of nearby late-type galaxies⋆,⋆⋆
1 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
2 Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Schenierstrasse 1, 81679 München, Germany
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Università di Milano-Bicocca, piazza della Scienza 3, 20100 Milano, Italy
5 University of Crete, Department of Physics, 71003 Heraklion, Greece
6 Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, 15236 Penteli, Greece
7 Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281-S9, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Received: 21 January 2015
Accepted: 7 April 2015
We present new Hα+[NII] imaging data of late-type galaxies in the Herschel Reference Survey aimed at studying the star formation properties of a K-band-selected, volume-limited sample of nearby galaxies. The Hα+[NII] data are corrected for [NII] contamination and dust attenuation using different recipes based on the Balmer decrement and the 24 μm luminosities. We show that the Hα luminosities derived with different corrections give consistent results only whenever the uncertainty on the estimate of the Balmer decrement is σ [C(Hβ)] ≤ 0.1. We used these data to derive the star formation rate of the late-type galaxies of the sample and compare these estimates to those determined using independent monochromatic tracers (far-UV, radio continuum) or the output of spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting codes. This comparison suggests that the 24 μm based dust extinction correction for the Hα data might not be universal and that it should be used with caution in all objects with a low star formation activity, where dust heating can be dominated by the old stellar population. Furthermore, because of the sudden truncation of the star formation activity of cluster galaxies occurring after their interaction with the surrounding environment, the stationarity conditions required to transform monochromatic fluxes into star formation rates might not always be satisfied in tracers other than the Hα luminosity. In a similar way, the parametrisation of the star formation history generally used in SED fitting codes might not be adequate for these recently interacting systems. We then use the derived star formation rates to study the star formation rate luminosity distribution and the typical scaling relations of the late-type galaxies of the HRS. We observe a systematic decrease of the specific star formation rate with increasing stellar mass, stellar mass surface density, and metallicity. We also observe an increase of the asymmetry and smoothness parameters measured in the Hα-band with increasing specific star formation rate, probably induced by an increase of the contribution of giant HII regions to the Hα luminosity function in star-forming low-luminosity galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: spiral / galaxies: star formation / galaxies: fundamental parameters / galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: photometry / galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
Full Tables 1–4, 6–7, 10 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/579/A102
© ESO, 2015
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