N. Vale Asari

Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nossa Senhora do Destêrro, Santa Catarina, Brazil

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Publications (37)61.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Methods to recover the fossil record of galaxy evolution encoded in their optical spectra have been instrumental in processing the avalanche of data from mega-surveys along the last decade, effectively transforming observed spectra onto a long and rich list of physical properties: from stellar masses and mean ages to full star formation histories. This promoted progress in our understanding of galaxies as a whole. Yet, the lack of spatial resolution introduces undesirable aperture effects, and hampers advances on the internal physics of galaxies. This is now changing with 3D surveys. The mapping of stellar populations in data-cubes allows us to figure what comes from where, unscrambling information previously available only in integrated form. This contribution uses our starlight-based analysis of 300 CALIFA galaxies to illustrate the power of spectral synthesis applied to data-cubes. The selected results highlighted here include: (a) The evolution of the mass-metallicity and mass-density-metallicity relations, as traced by the mean stellar metallicity. (b) A comparison of star formation rates obtained from H{\alpha} to those derived from full spectral fits. (c) The relation between star formation rate and dust optical depth within galaxies, which turns out to mimic the Schmidt-Kennicutt law. (d) PCA tomography experiments.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We resolve spatially the star formation history of 300 nearby galaxies from the CALIFA integral field survey to investigate: a) the radial structure and gradients of the present stellar populations properties as a function of the Hubble type; and b) the role that plays the galaxy stellar mass and stellar mass surface density in governing the star formation history and metallicity enrichment of spheroids and the disks of galaxies. We apply the fossil record method based on spectral synthesis techniques to recover spatially and temporally resolved maps of stellar population properties of spheroids and spirals with galaxy mass from 10$^9$ to 7$\times$10$^{11}$ M$_{\odot}$. The individual radial profiles of the stellar mass surface density ($\mu_{*}$), stellar extinction (A$_{V}$), luminosity weighted ages ($\langle$ log age $\rangle_{L}$), and mass weighted metallicity ($\langle$ log Z/Z$_{\odot}$$\rangle_{M}$) are stacked in seven bins of galaxy morphology (E, S0, Sa, Sb, Sbc, Sc and Sd). All these properties show negative gradients as a sight of the inside-out growth of massive galaxies. However, the gradients depend on the Hubble type in different ways. For the same galaxy mass, E and S0 galaxies show the largest inner gradients in $\mu_{*}$; and Andromeda-like galaxies (Sb with log M$_{*}$(M$_{\odot}$) $\sim$ 11) show the largest inner age and metallicity gradients. In average, spiral galaxies have a stellar metallicity gradient $\sim$ -0.1 dex per half-light radius, in agreement with the value estimated for the ionized gas oxygen abundance gradient by CALIFA. A global (M$_{*}$-driven) and local ($\mu_{*}$- driven) stellar metallicity relation are derived. We find that in disks, the stellar mass surface density regulates the stellar metallicity; in spheroids, the galaxy stellar mass dominates the physics of star formation and chemical enrichment.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We use spatially and temporally resolved maps of stellar population properties of 300 galaxies from the CALIFA integral field survey to investigate how the stellar metallicity (Z*) relates to the total stellar mass (M*) and the local mass surface density ($\mu$*) in both spheroidal and disk dominated galaxies. The galaxies are shown to follow a clear stellar mass-metallicity relation (MZR) over the whole 10$^9$ to 10$^{12}$ M$_{\odot}$ range. This relation is steeper than the one derived from nebular abundances, which is similar to the flatter stellar MZR derived when we consider only young stars. We also find a strong relation between the local values of $\mu$* and Z* (the $\mu$ZR), betraying the influence of local factors in determining Z*. This shows that both local ($\mu$*-driven) and global (M*-driven) processes are important in determining the metallicity in galaxies. We find that the overall balance between local and global effects varies with the location within a galaxy. In disks, $\mu$* regulates Z*, producing a strong $\mu$ZR whose amplitude is modulated by M*. In spheroids it is M* who dominates the physics of star formation and chemical enrichment, with $\mu$* playing a minor, secondary role. These findings agree with our previous analysis of the star formation histories of CALIFA galaxies, which showed that mean stellar ages are mainly governed by surface density in galaxy disks and by total mass in spheroids.
    The Astrophysical Journal. 07/2014; 791(1).
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    ABSTRACT: The Javalambre-Physics of the Accelerated Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) is a narrow band, very wide field Cosmological Survey to be carried out from the Javalambre Observatory in Spain with a purpose-built, dedicated 2.5m telescope and a 4.7 sq.deg. camera with 1.2Gpix. Starting in late 2015, J-PAS will observe 8500sq.deg. of Northern Sky and measure $0.003(1+z)$ photo-z for $9\times10^7$ LRG and ELG galaxies plus several million QSOs, sampling an effective volume of $\sim 14$ Gpc$^3$ up to $z=1.3$ and becoming the first radial BAO experiment to reach Stage IV. J-PAS will detect $7\times 10^5$ galaxy clusters and groups, setting constrains on Dark Energy which rival those obtained from its BAO measurements. Thanks to the superb characteristics of the site (seeing ~0.7 arcsec), J-PAS is expected to obtain a deep, sub-arcsec image of the Northern sky, which combined with its unique photo-z precision will produce one of the most powerful cosmological lensing surveys before the arrival of Euclid. J-PAS unprecedented spectral time domain information will enable a self-contained SN survey that, without the need for external spectroscopic follow-up, will detect, classify and measure $\sigma_z\sim 0.5\%$ redshifts for $\sim 4000$ SNeIa and $\sim 900$ core-collapse SNe. The key to the J-PAS potential is its innovative approach: a contiguous system of 54 filters with $145\AA$ width, placed $100\AA$ apart over a multi-degree FoV is a powerful "redshift machine", with the survey speed of a 4000 multiplexing low resolution spectrograph, but many times cheaper and much faster to build. The J-PAS camera is equivalent to a 4.7 sq.deg. "IFU" and it will produce a time-resolved, 3D image of the Northern Sky with a very wide range of Astrophysical applications in Galaxy Evolution, the nearby Universe and the study of resolved stellar populations.
    03/2014;
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    arXiv:1403.5237. 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In a companion paper we have presented many products derived from the application of the spectral synthesis code STARLIGHT to datacubes from the CALIFA survey, including 2D maps of stellar population properties and 1D averages in the temporal and spatial dimensions. Here we evaluate the uncertainties in these products. Uncertainties due to noise and spectral shape calibration errors and to the synthesis method are investigated by means of a suite of simulations based on 1638 CALIFA spectra for NGC 2916, with perturbations amplitudes gauged in terms of the expected errors. A separate study was conducted to assess uncertainties related to the choice of evolutionary synthesis models. We compare results obtained with the Bruzual & Charlot models, a preliminary update of them, and a combination of spectra derived from the Granada and MILES models. About 100k CALIFA spectra are used in this comparison. Noise and shape-related errors at the level expected for CALIFA propagate to 0.10-0.15 dex uncertainties in stellar masses, mean ages and metallicities. Uncertainties in A_V increase from 0.06 mag in the case of random noise to 0.16 mag for shape errors. Higher order products such as SFHs are more uncertain, but still relatively stable. Due to the large number statistics of datacubes, spatial averaging reduces uncertainties while preserving information on the history and structure of stellar populations. Radial profiles of global properties, as well as SFHs averaged over different regions are much more stable than for individual spaxels. Uncertainties related to the choice of base models are larger than those associated with data and method. Differences in mean age, mass and metallicity are ~ 0.15 to 0.25 dex, and 0.1 mag in A_V. Spectral residuals are ~ 1% on average, but with systematic features of up to 4%. The origin of these features is discussed. (Abridged)
    07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Our aim in this work is to answer, using simulated narrow-band photometry data, the following general question: What can we learn about galaxies from these new generation cosmological surveys? For instance, can we estimate stellar age and metallicity distributions? Can we separate star-forming galaxies from AGN? Can we measure emission lines, nebular abundances and extinction? With what precision? To accomplish this, we selected a sample of about 300k galaxies with good S/N from the SDSS and divided them in two groups: 200k objects and a template library of 100k. We corrected the spectra to $z = 0$ and converted them to filter fluxes. Using a statistical approach, we calculated a Probability Distribution Function (PDF) for each property of each object and the library. Since we have the properties of all the data from the {\sc starlight}-SDSS database, we could compare them with the results obtained from summaries of the PDF (mean, median, etc). Our results shows that we retrieve the weighted average of the log of the galaxy age with a good error margin ($\sigma \approx 0.1 - 0.2$ dex), and similarly for the physical properties such as mass-to-light ratio, mean stellar metallicity, etc. Furthermore, our main result is that we can derive emission line intensities and ratios with similar precision. This makes this method unique in comparison to the other methods on the market to analyze photometry data and shows that, from the point of view of galaxy studies, future photometric surveys will be much more useful than anticipated.
    10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We study a large sample of narrow-line radio galaxies (NLRGs) with extended radio structures. Using 1.4 GHz radio luminosities, $L_{1.4}$, narrow optical emission line luminosities, $L_{\oiii}$ and $L_{H_{\alpha}}$, as well as black hole masses $M_{BH}$ derived from stellar velocity dispersions measured from the optical spectra obtained with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we find that: (i) NLRGs cover about 4 decades of the Eddington ratio, $\lambda \equiv L_{bol}/L_{Edd} \propto L_{line}/M_{BH}$; (ii) $L_{1.4}/M_{BH}$ strongly correlates with $\lambda$; (iii) radio-loudness, ${\cal R} \equiv L_{1.4}/L_{line}$, strongly anti-correlates with $\lambda$. A very broad range of the Eddington ratio indicates that the parent population of NLRGs includes both radio-loud quasars (RLQs) and broad-line radio galaxies (BLRGs). The correlations they obey and their high jet production efficiencies favor a jet production model which involves the so-called 'magnetically choked' accretion scenario. In this model, production of the jet is dominated by the Blandford-Znajek mechanism, and the magnetic fields in the vicinity of the central black hole are confined by the ram pressure of the accretion flow. Since large net magnetic flux accumulated in central regions of the accretion flow required by the model can take place only via geometrically thick accretion, we speculate that the massive, 'cold' accretion events associated with luminous emission-line AGN can be accompanied by an efficient jet production only if preceded by a hot, very sub-Eddington accretion phase.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2012; 765(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the WH versus [N ii]/H (WHAN) diagram introduced by us in previous work to provide a comprehensive emission-line classification of Sloan Digital Sky Survey galaxies. This classification is able to cope with the large population of weak line galaxies that do not appear in traditional diagrams due to a lack of some of the diagnostic lines. A further advantage of the WHAN diagram is to allow the differentiation between two very distinct classes that overlap in the low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER) region of traditional diagnostic diagrams. These are galaxies hosting a weakly active galactic nucleus (wAGN) and ‘retired galaxies’ (RGs), i.e. galaxies that have stopped forming stars and are ionized by their hot low-mass evolved stars.A useful criterion to distinguish true from fake AGN (i.e. the RGs) is the value of ξ, which measures the ratio of the extinction-corrected H luminosity with respect to the H luminosity expected from photoionization by stellar populations older than 108 yr. We find that ξ follows a markedly bimodal distribution, with a ξ≫ 1 population composed by systems undergoing star formation and/or nuclear activity, and a peak at ξ∼ 1 corresponding to the prediction of the RG model. We base our classification scheme not on ξ but on a more readily available and model-independent quantity which provides an excellent observational proxy for ξ: the equivalent width of H. Based on the bimodal distribution of WH, we set the practical division between wAGN and RGs at WH= 3 Å.Five classes of galaxies are identified within the WHAN diagram:(i) pure star-forming galaxies: and WH > 3 Å;(ii) strong AGN (i.e. Seyferts): and WH > 6 Å;(iii) weak AGN: and WH between 3 and 6 Å;(iv) RGs (i.e. fake AGN): WH < 3 Å;(v) passive galaxies (actually, lineless galaxies): WH and W[N ii] < 0.5 Å.A comparative analysis of star formation histories and of other physical and observational properties in these different classes of galaxies corroborates our proposed differentiation between RGs and wAGN in the LINER-like family. This analysis also shows similarities between strong and weak AGN on the one hand, and retired and passive galaxies on the other.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 05/2011; 413(3):1687 - 1699. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the W_Ha versus [NII]/Ha (WHAN) diagram to provide a comprehensive emission-line classification of SDSS galaxies. This classification is able to cope with the large population of weak line galaxies that do not appear in traditional diagrams due to a lack of some of the diagnostic lines. A further advantage of the WHAN diagram is to allow the differentiation between two very distinct classes that overlap in the LINER region of traditional diagnostic diagrams. These are galaxies hosting a weakly active nucleus (wAGN) and "retired galaxies" (RGs), i.e. galaxies that have stopped forming stars and are ionized by their hot evolved low-mass stars. A useful criterion to distinguish true from fake AGN (i.e. the RGs) is the ratio (\xi) of the extinction-corrected L_Ha with respect to the Ha luminosity expected from photoionization by stellar populations older than 100 Myr. This ratio follows a markedly bimodal distribution, with a \xi >> 1 population composed by systems undergoing star-formation and/or nuclear activity, and a peak at \xi ~ 1 corresponding to the prediction of the RG model. We base our classification scheme on the equivalent width of Ha, an excellent observational proxy for \xi. Based on the bimodal distribution of W_Ha, we set the division between wAGN and RGs at W_Ha = 3 A. Five classes of galaxies are identified within the WHAN diagram: (a) Pure star forming galaxies: log [NII]/Ha < -0.4 and W_Ha > 3 A. (b) Strong AGN (i.e., Seyferts): log [NII]/Ha > -0.4 and W_Ha > 6 A. (c) Weak AGN: log [NII]/Ha > -0.4 and W_Ha between 3 and 6 A. (d) RGs: W_Ha < 3 A. (e) Passive galaxies (actually, line-less galaxies): W_Ha and W_[NII] < 0.5 A. A comparative analysis of star formation histories and of other properties in these different classes of galaxies corroborates our proposed differentiation between RGs and weak AGN in the LINER-like family. (Abridged) Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS
    12/2010;
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    G. Stasinska, N. Vale Asari, R. Cid Fernandes
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    ABSTRACT: In the BPT diagram, the distribution of the emission-line galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) evokes the wings of a seagull. Traditionally, galaxies in the right wing are considered to host AGNs. Our study of the stellar populations of SDSS galaxies showed that about1/4 of galaxies thought to host LINERS are in fact "retired galaxies", i.e. galaxies that stopped forming stars and are ionized by hot post-AGB stars and white dwarfs (Stasinska et al. 2008). When including the galaxies that lack some of the lines needed to place them in the BPT diagram the fraction of retired galaxies is even larger (Cid Fernandes et al., 2009, arXiv:0912.1376) Comment: to be published in "Co-evolution of central black holes and galaxies: feeding and feed-back" Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 267, Peterson, Rachel Somerville, & Thaisa Storchi-Bergmann eds
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Various studies have shown that there is an empirical relation between the nebular metallicity of a galaxy and its stellar mass. Until now, most studies of the mass-metallicity relation (M-Z) have focused on the abundances of the interstellar medium as measured by emission-line features. This technique thus excludes galaxies with AGN from the working samples, due to the difficulty to measure the nebular abundances when emission-lines are powered both by stars and AGN. With our synthesis code starlight, we are able to recover the stellar metallicities of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Therefore, although we still cannot measure the nebular metallicity in AGN hosts, we know their present-day stellar metallicities. Moreover, because we measure the metallicity of stellar populations of different ages in a galaxy, we are also able also recover the history of its chemical enrichment.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2010; 267:144-144.
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    ABSTRACT: A numerous population of weak line galaxies (WLGs) is often left out of statistical studies on emission line galaxies (ELGs) due to the absence of an adequate classification scheme, since classical diagnostic diagrams, like [OIII]/Hb vs [NII]/Ha (the BPT diagram), require the measurement of at least 4 emission lines. This paper aims to remedy this situation by transposing the usual divisory lines between Star Forming (SF) and AGN hosts, and between Seyferts and LINERs to diagrams that are more economical in terms of line quality requirements. By doing this, we rescue from the classification limbo a substantial number of sources and modify the global census of ELGs. More specifically: (1) We use the SDSS DR7 to constitute a suitable sample of 280k ELGs, 1/3 of which are WLGs. (2) Galaxies with strong emission lines are classified using the widely applied criteria of Kewley et al (2001), Kauffmann et al (2003), Stasinska et al (2006) and Kewley et al (2006). (3) We transpose these classification schemes to alternative diagrams keeping [NII]/Ha as a horizontal axis, but replacing Hb by a stronger line (Ha or [OII]), or substituting [OIII]/Hb ratio with the equivalent width of Ha. Optimized equations for the transposed divisory lines are provided. (4) We show that nothing significant is lost in the translation, but that the new diagrams allow one to classify up to 50% more ELGs. (5) Introducing WLGs in the census of galaxies in the local Universe increases the proportion of metal-rich SF galaxies and especially LINERs. (abridged) Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2009; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Optical studies of starbursts, AGN and their connections usually leave out galaxies whose emission lines are too weak to warrant reliable measurement and classification. Yet, weak line galaxies abound, and deserve a closer look. We show that these galaxies are either massive, metal rich star-forming systems, or, more often, LINERs. From our detailed stellar population analysis, we find that these LINERs have stopped forming stars long ago. Moreover, their ionizing radiation field is amazingly consistent with that expected from their old stellar populations alone. The black-hole in the centers of these massive, early-type galaxies is not active enough to overwhelm stellar ionization, and thus, despite their looks, they should not be called AGN.
    09/2009; 408:122.
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    ABSTRACT: Massive spectroscopic surveys like the SDSS have revolutionized the way we study AGN and their relations to the galaxies they live in. A first step in any such study is to define samples of different types of AGN on the basis of emission-line ratios. This deceivingly simple step involves decisions on which classification scheme to use and data quality censorship. Galaxies with weak emission lines are often left aside or dealt with separetely because one cannot fully classify them onto the standard star-forming, Seyfert, or LINER categories. This contribution summarizes alternative classification schemes which include this very numerous population. We then study how star-formation histories and physical properties of the hosts vary from class to class, and present compelling evidence that the emission lines in the majority of LINER-like systems in the SDSS are not powered by black-hole accretion. The data are fully consistent with them being galaxies whose old stars provide all the ionizing power needed to explain their line ratios and luminosities. Such retired galaxies deserve a place in the emission-line taxonomy.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 07/2009; 5:65 - 72.
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    ABSTRACT: During the last three decades, many papers have reported the existence of a luminosity metallicity or mass metallicity (M–Z) relation for all kinds of galaxies: The more massive galaxies are also the ones with more metal-rich interstellar medium. We have obtained the mass-metallicity relation at different lookback times for the same set of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), using the stellar metallicities estimated with our spectral synthesis code starlight. Using stellar metallicities has several advantages: We are free of the biases that affect the calibration of nebular metallicities; we can include in our study objects for which the nebular metallicity cannot be measured, such as AGN hosts and passive galaxies; we can probe metallicities at different epochs of a galaxy evolution.We have found that the M–Z relation steepens and spans a wider range in both mass and metallicity at higher redshifts for SDSS galaxies. We also have modeled the time evolution of stellar metallicity with a closed-box chemical evolution model, for galaxies of different types and masses. Our results suggest that the M–Z relation for galaxies with present-day stellar masses down to 1010 M is mainly driven by the star formation history and not by inflows or outflows.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 07/2009; 5:442 - 443.
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    ABSTRACT: We have obtained the mass–metallicity (M–Z) relation at different lookback times for the same set of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, using the stellar metallicities estimated with our spectral synthesis code starlight. We have found that this relation steepens and spans a wider range in both mass and metallicity at higher redshifts. We have modelled the time evolution of stellar metallicity with a closed-box chemical evolution model, for galaxies of different types and masses. Our results suggest that the M–Z relation for galaxies with present-day stellar masses down to 1010 M⊙ is mainly driven by the history of star formation and not by inflows or outflows.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters 04/2009; 396(1):L71 - L75. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Optical studies of starbursts, AGN and their connections usually leave out galaxies whose emission lines are too weak to warrant reliable measurement and classification. Yet, weak line galaxies abound, and deserve a closer look. We show that these galaxies are either massive, metal rich star-forming systems, or, more often, LINERs. From our detailed stellar population analysis, we find that these LINERs have stopped forming stars long ago. Moreover, their ionizing radiation field is amazingly consistent with that expected from their old stellar populations alone. The black-hole in the centers of these massive, early-type galaxies is not active enough to overwhelm stellar ionization, and thus, despite their looks, they should not be called AGN.
    03/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Galaxies are usually classified as star forming or active by using diagnostic diagrams, such as [N II]/Halpha vs. [O III]/Hbeta. Active galaxies are further classified into Seyfert or LINER-like sources. We claim that a non-negligible fraction of galaxies classified as LINERs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are in fact ionized by hot post-AGB stars and white dwarfs.
    03/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: In a former paper, we have presented spectra of 64 active, nine normal and five starburst galaxies in the region around the near-infrared calcium triplet (CaT) absorption lines and the [S iii]λ9069 line. In the present paper, we analyse the CaT strength (WCaT) and kinematical products derived in that study, namely stellar (σ★) and ionized gas (σgas) velocity dispersions. Our main results may be summarized as follows. (1) Type 2 Seyfert galaxies show no sign of dilution in WCaT with respect to the values spanned by normal galaxies, even when optical absorption lines such as the Ca iiK band at 3933 Å are much weaker than in old, bulge-like stellar populations. (2) The location of type 2 Seyfert galaxies in the WCaT–WCaK plane is consistent with evolutionary synthesis models. The implication is that the source responsible for the dilution of optical lines in these active galactic nuclei (AGN) is a young stellar population, rather than an AGN featureless continuum, confirming the conclusion of the pioneer study of Terlevich, Díaz & Terlevich. (3) In type 1 Seyfert galaxies, both W[S iii] and WCaT tend to be diluted due to the presence of a non-stellar component, in agreement with the unification paradigm. (4) A comparison of σ★ with σgas (obtained from the core of the [S iii] emitting line) confirms the existence of a correlation between the typical velocities of stars and clouds of the narrow line region. The strength and scatter around this correlation are similar to those previously obtained from the [O iii]λ5007 linewidth.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2009; 393(3):846 - 857. · 5.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

308 Citations
61.32 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2014
    • Federal University of Santa Catarina
      • Departamento de Física
      Nossa Senhora do Destêrro, Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • 2012
    • University of Cambridge
      • Institute of Astronomy
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2010
    • Paris Diderot University
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2009
    • National University of Cordoba, Argentina
      Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
  • 2007
    • Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE)
      Cholula de Riva dabia, Puebla, Mexico