High-resolution spectra of distant compact narrow emission line galaxies: Progrenitors of spheroidal galaxies

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 03/1995; DOI: 10.1086/187758
Source: NTRS

ABSTRACT Emission-line velocity widths have been determined for 17 faint (B approximately 20-23) very blue, compact galaxies whose redshifts range from z = 0.095 to 0.66. The spectra have a resolution of 8 Km/s and were taken with the HIRES echelle spectrograph of the Keck 10 m telescope. The galaxies are luminous with all but two within 1 mag of M(sub B) approximately -21. Yet they exhibit narrow velocity widths between sigma = 28-157 km/s, more consistent with typical values of extreme star-forming galaxies than with those of nearby spiral galaxies of similar luminosity. In particular, objects with sigma is less than or equal to 65 km/s follow the same correlations between sigma and both blue and H beta luminosities as those of nearby H II galaxies. These results strengthen the identification of H II glaxies as thier local counterparts. The blue colors and strong emission lines suggest these compact galaxies are undergoing a recent, strong burst of star formation. Like those which characterize some H II galaxies, this burst could be a nuclear star-forming event within a much larger, older stellar population. If the burst is instead a major episode in the total star-forming history, these distant galaxies could fade enough to match the low luminosities and surface brightnesses typical of nearby spheroidals like NGC 185 or NGC 205. Together with evidence for recent star formation, exponential light profiles, and subsolar metallicities, the postfading correlations between luminosity and velocity width and bewtween luminosity and surface brightness suggest that among the low-sigma galaxies, we may be witnessing, in situ, the progenitors of today's spheroidal galaxies.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We exploit the strong lensing effect to explore the properties of intrinsically faint and compact galaxies at intermediate redshift, at the highest possible resolution at optical wavelengths. Our sample consists of 46 strongly-lensed emission line galaxies discovered by the Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) Survey. The galaxies have been imaged at high resolution with HST in three bands (V_HST, I_814 and H_160), allowing us to infer their size, luminosity, and stellar mass using stellar population synthesis models. Lens modeling is performed using a new fast and robust code, klens, which we test extensively on real and synthetic non-lensed galaxies, and also on simulated galaxies multiply-imaged by SLACS- like galaxy-scale lenses. Our tests show that our measurements of galaxy size, flux, and Sersic index are robust and accurate, even for objects intrinsically smaller than the HST point spread function. The median magnification is 8.8, with a long tail that extends to magnifications above 40. Modeling the SLACS sources reveals a population of galaxies with colors and Sersic indices (median n ~ 1) consistent with the objects detected in the field with HST in the GEMS survey, but that are (typically) ~ 2 magnitudes fainter and ~ 5 times smaller in apparent size. The closest analog are ultracompact emission line galaxies identified by HST grism surveys. The lowest mass galaxies in our sample are comparable to the brightest Milky Way satellites in stellar mass (10^7 solar masses) and have well-determined half light radii of 0."05 (~0.3 kpc).
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2011; 734. · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deep, high resolution spectroscopic observations have been obtained for six compact, strongly star-forming galaxies at redshift z~0.1-0.3, most of them also known as Green Peas. Remarkably, these galaxies show complex emission-line profiles in the spectral region including H\alpha, [NII]$\lambda\lambda 6548, 6584$ and [SII]$\lambda\lambda 6717, 6731$, consisting of the superposition of different kinematical components on a spatial extent of few kpc: a very broad line emission underlying more than one narrower component. For at least two of the observed galaxies some of these multiple components are resolved spatially in their 2D-spectra, whereas for another one a faint detached H\alpha\ blob lacking stellar continuum is detected at the same recessional velocity ~7 kpc away from the galaxy. The individual narrower H\alpha\ components show high intrinsic velocity dispersion (\sigma ~30-80 km s$^{-1}$), suggesting together with unsharped masking HST images that star formation proceeds in an ensemble of several compact and turbulent clumps, with relative velocities of up to ~500 km s$^{-1}$. The broad underlying H\alpha\ components indicate in all cases large expansion velocities (full width zero intensity FWZI $\ge$ 1000 km s$^{-1}$) and very high luminosities (up to ~10$^{42}$ erg s$^{-1}$), probably showing the imprint of energetic outflows from SNe. These intriguing results underline the importance of Green Peas for studying the assembly of low-mass galaxies near and far.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2012; 754(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The last seven years have seen an explosion in the number of Integral Field galaxy surveys, obtaining resolved two dimensional spectroscopy, especially at high-redshift. These have taken advantage of the mature capabilities of 8-10m class telescopes and the development of associated technology such as Adaptive Optics. Surveys have leveraged both high spectroscopic resolution enabling internal velocity measurements and high spatial resolution from Adaptive Optics techniques and sites with excellent natural seeing. For the first time we have been able to glimpse the kinematic state of matter in young, assembling star-forming galaxies and learn detailed astrophysical information about the physical processes and compare their kinematic scaling relations with those in the local universe. Observers have measured disk galaxy rotation, merger signatures and turbulence enhanced velocity dispersions of gas rich disks. Theorists have interpreted kinematic signatures of galaxies in a variety of ways (rotation, merging, outflows, feedback) and attempted to discuss evolution vs theoretical models and relate it to the evolution in galaxy morphology. There has not yet been a review of this burgeoning topic. In this first Dawes review I will discuss the extensive kinematic surveys that have been done and the physical models that have arisen for young galaxies at high redshift.
    Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia 05/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor