Choirs HI galaxy groups: The metallicity of dwarf galaxies

S.M. Sweet, M.J. Drinkwater, Gerhardt Meurer, Kenji Bekki, M.A. Dopita, V.A. Kilborn, D.C. Nicholls

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    Abstract

    We present a recalibration of the luminosity-metallicity relation for gas-rich, star-forming dwarfs to magnitudes as faint as MR -13. We use the Dopita et al. metallicity calibrations to calibrate the relation for all the data in this analysis. In metallicity-luminosity space, we find two subpopulations within a sample of high-confidence Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) DR8 star-forming galaxies: 52% are metal-rich giants and 48% are metal-medium galaxies. Metal-rich dwarfs classified as tidal dwarf galaxy (TDG) candidates in the literature are typically of metallicity 12 + log(O/H) = 8.70 ± 0.05, while SDSS dwarfs fainter than MR = -16 have a mean metallicity of 12 + log(O/H) = 8.28 ± 0.10, regardless of their luminosity, indicating that there is an approximate floor to the metallicity of low-luminosity galaxies. Our hydrodynamical simulations predict that TDGs should have metallicities elevated above the normal luminosity-metallicity relation. Metallicity can therefore be a useful diagnostic for identifying TDG candidate populations in the absence of tidal tails. At magnitudes brighter than MR -16, our sample of 53 star-forming galaxies in 9 H I gas-rich groups is consistent with the normal relation defined by the SDSS sample. At fainter magnitudes, there is an increase in dispersion of the metallicity of our sample, suggestive of a wide range of H I content and environment. In our sample, we identify three (16% of dwarfs) strong TDG candidates (12 + log(O/H) > 8.6) and four (21%) very metal-poor dwarfs (12 + log(O/H) <8.0), which are likely gas-rich dwarfs with recently ignited star formation. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11pp
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume782
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    Sweet, S. M., Drinkwater, M. J., Meurer, G., Bekki, K., Dopita, M. A., Kilborn, V. A., & Nicholls, D. C. (2014). Choirs HI galaxy groups: The metallicity of dwarf galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 782(1), 11pp. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/782/1/35