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  The MOSDEF Survey: Sulfur emission-line ratios provide new insights into evolving interstellar medium conditions at high redshift

Shapley, A. E., Sanders, R. L., Shao, P., Reddy, N. A., Kriek, M., Coil, A. L., et al. (2019). The MOSDEF Survey: Sulfur emission-line ratios provide new insights into evolving interstellar medium conditions at high redshift. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 881(2): L35. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab385a.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-202D-5 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-202E-4
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Shapley, Alice E., Author
Sanders, Ryan L., Author
Shao, Peng, Author
Reddy, Naveen A., Author
Kriek, Mariska, Author
Coil, Alison L., Author
Mobasher, Bahram, Author
Siana, Brian, Author
Shivaei, Irene, Author
Freeman, William R., Author
Azadi, Mojegan, Author
Price, Sedona H.1, Author              
Leung, Gene C. K., Author
Fetherolf, Tara, Author
de Groot, Laura, Author
Zick, Tom, Author
Fornasini, Francesca M., Author
Barro, Guillermo, Author
Affiliations:
1Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_159889              

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 Abstract: We present results on the emission-line properties of 1.3 ≤ z ≤ 2.7 galaxies drawn from the complete the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey. Specifically, we use observations of the emission-line diagnostic diagram of [O iii]λ 5007/Hβ versus [S ii]λλ6717,6731/Hα, i.e., the "[S ii] BPT diagram," to gain insight into the physical properties of high-redshift star-forming regions. High-redshift MOSDEF galaxies are offset toward lower [S ii]λλ6717,6731/Hα at fixed [O iii]λ5007/Hβ, relative to local galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Furthermore, at fixed [O iii]λ5007/Hβ, local SDSS galaxies follow a trend of decreasing [S ii]λλ6717,6731/Hα as the surface density of star formation (ΣSFR) increases. We explain this trend in terms of the decreasing fractional contribution from diffuse ionized gas (f DIG) as ΣSFR increases in galaxies, which causes galaxy-integrated line ratios to shift toward the locus of pure H ii-region emission. The z ~ 0 relationship between f DIG and ΣSFR implies that high-redshift galaxies have lower f DIG values than typical local systems, given their significantly higher typical ΣSFR. When an appropriate low-redshift benchmark with zero or minimal f DIG is used, high-redshift MOSDEF galaxies appear offset toward higher [S ii]λλ6717,6731/Hα and/or [O iii]λ 5007/Hβ. The joint shifts of high-redshift galaxies in the [S ii] and [N ii] BPT diagrams are best explained in terms of the harder spectra ionizing their star-forming regions at fixed nebular oxygen abundance (expected for chemically young galaxies), as opposed to large variations in N/O ratios or higher ionization parameters. The evolving mixture of H ii regions and diffuse ionized gas is an essential ingredient of our description of the interstellar medium over cosmic time.

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 Dates: 2019-08-20
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab385a
Other: LOCALID: 3176888
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Title: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
  Other : Astrophys. J. Lett.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press for the American Astronomical Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 881 (2) Sequence Number: L35 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2041-8205
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828215