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IMAGES IV*: strong evolution of the oxygen abundance in gaseous phases of intermediate mass galaxies from z similar to 0.8

TitreIMAGES IV*: strong evolution of the oxygen abundance in gaseous phases of intermediate mass galaxies from z similar to 0.8
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuteursRodrigues, M, Hammer, F, Flores, H, Puech, M, Liang, YC, Fuentes-Carrera, I, Nesvadba, N, Lehnert, M, Yang, Y, Amram, P, Balkowski, C, Cesarsky, C, Dannerbauer, H, Delgado, R, Guiderdoni, B, Kembhavi, A, Neichel, B, Ostlin, G, Pozzetti, L, Ravikumar, CD, Rawat, A, Alighieri, SD, Vergani, D, Vernet, J, Wozniak, H
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number0004-6361
Numéro d'accèsWOS:000261431500011

Context. Intermediate mass galaxies (>10(10) M(circle dot)) at z similar to 0.6 are the likeliest progenitors of the present-day, numerous population of spirals. There is growing evidence that they have evolved rapidly in the last 6 to 8 Gyr, and likely already have formed a significant fraction of their stellar mass, often showing perturbed morphologies and kinematics. Aims. We have gathered a representative sample of 88 such galaxies and have provided robust estimates of their gas phase metallicity. Methods. We used moderate spectral resolution spectroscopy at VLT/FORS2 with an unprecedentedly high S/N allowing us to remove biases coming from interstellar absorption lines and extinction, to establish robust values of R(23) = ([OII]lambda 3727 + [OIII]lambda lambda 4959, 5007)/H beta. Results. We definitively confirm that the predominant population of z similar to 0.6 starbursts and luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs) are on average two times less metal rich than the local galaxies at a given stellar mass. We do find that the metal abundance of the gaseous phase of galaxies evolves linearly with time, from z = 1 to z = 0 and after comparing with other studies, from z = 3 to z = 0. Combining our results with the reported evolution of the Tully Fisher relation, we find that such an evolution requires that similar to 30% of the stellar mass of local galaxies have been formed through an external supply of gas, thus excluding the closed box model. Distant starbursts & LIRGs have properties (metal abundance, star formation efficiency & morphologies) similar to those of local LIRGs. Their underlying physics is likely dominated by gas infall, probably through merging or interactions. Conclusions. Our study further supports the rapid evolution of z similar to 0.4-1 galaxies. Gas exchange between galaxies is likely the main cause of this evolution.

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