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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Star formation in emission-line galaxies between redshifts of 0.8 and 1.6

  • Author(s): Hicks, EKS
  • Malkan, MA
  • Teplitz, HI
  • McCarthy, PJ
  • Lin, YAN
  • et al.

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Optical spectra of 14 emission-line galaxies representative of the 1999 NICMOS parallel grism Hα survey of McCarthy et al. are presented. Of the 14, 9 have emission lines confirming the redshifts found in the grism survey. The higher resolution of our optical spectra improves the redshift accuracy by a factor of 5. The [O II]/Hα values of our sample are found to be more than 2 times lower than expected from Jansen et al. This [O II]/Hα ratio discrepancy is most likely explained by additional reddening in our Hα-selected sample [on average, as much as an extra E(B- V) = 0.6], as well as by a possible stronger dependence of the [O II]/Hα ratio on galaxy luminosity than is found in local galaxies. The result is that star formation rates (SFRs) calculated from [O II] λ3727 emission, uncorrected for extinction, are found to be on average 4 ± 2 times lower than the SFRs calculated from Ha emission. Classification of emission-line galaxies as starburst or Seyfert galaxies based on comparison of the ratios [O II]/Hβ and [Ne III] λ3869/Hβ is discussed. New Seyfert 1 diagnostics using the Ha line luminosity, H-band absolute magnitude, and Hα equivalent widths are also presented. One galaxy is classified as a Seyfert 1 based on its broad emission lines, implying a comoving number density for Seyfert 1 galaxies of 2.5-2.1+5.9 × 10-5 Mpc-3. This comoving number density is a factor of 2.4-2.0+5.5times higher than estimated by other surveys.

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