Volume 365, Number 3, January IV 2001
|Page(s)||347 - 359|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 January 2001|
Evolution of photoionization and star formation in starbursts and H1214 II galaxies
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
2 Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Bât. 121, Université Paris XI, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France
3 NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, code 685, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Corresponding author: E. Moy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 4 September 2000
We analyze coherently the stellar and nebular energy distributions of starbursts and Hii galaxies, using our evolutionary synthesis model, PÉGASE (Fioc & Rocca-Volmerange 1997, 2000), coupled to the photoionization code CLOUDY (Ferland [CITE]). The originality of this study is to relate the evolution and the metallicity of the starburst to the past star formation history of the host galaxy. Extinction and geometrical effects on emission lines and continua are computed in coherency with metallicity. We compare our model predictions to an observed sample of ≈750 Hii regions and starbursts. When fitting [Oiii]/[Oiii], [Oi]/Hα, [Sii]/Hα, [Nii]/Hα and [Oiii]/Hβ, the most striking feature is the decreasing spread in U with increasing metallicity Z. High-U objects systematically have a low metallicity while low levels of excitation happen at any Z. The best fits of emission line ratios are obtained with a combination of a high- and a low-ionization components. No additional source of ionizing photons - shocks or hidden AGN -is needed. The high level of excitation observed in metal-poor Hii galaxies requires a very young population ( Myr), while starburst nuclear galaxies (SBNGs) are consistent with a wider range of age ( Myr). Colors (, ) and equivalent widths are fitted in coherency with emission line ratios. An underlying population is needed, even for small-aperture observations. This underlying population not only reddens the continuum and dilutes the equivalent width of the emission lines, but also participates in the ionization process. Its main effect on line ratios is to maintain a high level of excitation when the burst stops. Models combining underlying populations typical of Hubble sequence galaxies and instantaneous starbursts with ages between 0 and 8 Myr agree satisfactorily with all the data.
Key words: galaxies: starburst / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: stellar content / ISM: Hii regions
© ESO, 2001
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