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  The MOSDEF Survey: [S iii] as a new probe of evolving interstellar medium conditions

Sanders, R. L., Jones, T., Shapley, A. E., Reddy, N. A., Kriek, M., Coil, A. L., et al. (2019). The MOSDEF Survey: [S iii] as a new probe of evolving interstellar medium conditions. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 888(1): L11. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab5d40.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-511B-1 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-511C-0
Genre: Journal Article

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

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 Abstract: We present measurements of [S iii]λλ9069,9531 for a sample of z ~ 1.5 star-forming galaxies, the first representative sample with measurements of these lines at z ≳ 0.1. We employ the line ratio S 32 ≡ [S iii]λλ9069,9531/[S ii]λλ6716,6731 as a novel probe of evolving interstellar medium (ISM) conditions. Since this ratio includes the low-ionization line [S ii], it is crucial that the effects of diffuse ionized gas (DIG) on emission-line ratios be accounted for in z ~ 0 galaxy spectra, or else that comparisons be made to samples of local H ii regions in which DIG emission is not present. We find that S 32 decreases with increasing stellar mass at both z ~ 1.5 and z ~ 0, but with a shallow slope suggesting S 32 has a weak dependence on metallicity, in contrast with [O iii]/[O ii] that displays a strong metallicity dependence. As a result, S 32 only mildly evolves with redshift at fixed stellar mass. The z ~ 1.5 sample is systematically offset toward lower S 32 and higher [S ii]/Hα at fixed [O iii]/Hβ relative to z = 0 H ii regions. We find that such trends can be explained by a scenario in which the ionizing spectrum is harder at fixed O/H with increasing redshift, but are inconsistent with an increase in ionization parameter at fixed O/H. This analysis demonstrates the advantages of expanding beyond the strongest rest-optical lines for evolutionary studies, and the particular utility of [S iii] for characterizing evolving ISM conditions and stellar compositions. These measurements provide a basis for estimating [S iii] line strengths for high-redshift galaxies, a line that the James Webb Space Telescope will measure out to z ~ 5.5.

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 Dates: 2019-12-31
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab5d40
Other: LOCALID: 3223337
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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: 888 (1) Sequence Number: L11 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2041-8205
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828215