Exploring chemical homogeneity in dwarf galaxies: a VLT- MUSE study of JKB 18
ABSTRACT Deciphering the distribution of metals throughout galaxies is fundamental in our understanding of galaxy evolution. Nearby, low-metallicity, star-forming dwarf galaxies, in particular, can offer detailed insight into the metal-dependent processes that may have occurred within galaxies in the early Universe. Here, we present VLT/MUSE observations of one such system, JKB 18, a blue diffuse dwarf galaxy with a metallicity of only 12 + log(O/H)=7.6 ± 0.2 (∼0.08 Z⊙). Using high spatial resolution integral-field spectroscopy of the entire system, we calculate chemical abundances for individual H ii regions using the direct method and derive oxygen abundance maps using strong-line metallicity diagnostics. With large-scale dispersions in O/H, N/H, and N/O of ∼0.5–0.6 dex and regions harbouring chemical abundances outside this 1σ distribution, we deem JKB 18 to be chemically inhomogeneous. We explore this finding in the context of other chemically inhomogeneous dwarf galaxies and conclude that neither the accretion of metal-poor gas, short mixing time-scales or self-enrichment from Wolf–Rayet stars are accountable. Using a galaxy-scale, multiphase, hydrodynamical simulation of a low-mass dwarf galaxy, we find that chemical inhomogeneities of this level may be attributable to the removal of gas via supernovae and the specific timing of the observations with respect to star formation activity. This study not only draws attention more »
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10276096
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
495
Issue:
3
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
2564 to 2581
ISSN:
0035-8711
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5. ABSTRACT We present an analysis of spatially resolved gas-phase metallicity relations in five dwarf galaxies ($\rm \mathit{M}_{halo} \approx 10^{11}\, {\rm M}_\odot$, $\rm \mathit{M}_\star \approx 10^{8.8}{-}10^{9.6}\, {\rm M}_\odot$) from the FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological zoom-in simulation suite, which include an explicit model for sub-grid turbulent mixing of metals in gas, near z ≈ 0, over a period of 1.4 Gyr, and compare our findings with observations. While these dwarf galaxies represent a diverse sample, we find that all simulated galaxies match the observed mass–metallicity (MZR) and mass–metallicity gradient (MZGR) relations. We note that in all five galaxies, the metallicities are effectively identical between phases of the interstellar medium (ISM), with 95 ${{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the gas being within ±0.1 dex between the cold and dense gas (T < 500 K and nH > 1 cm−3), ionized gas (near the H αT ≈ 104 K ridge-line), and nebular regions (ionized gas where the 10 Myr-averaged star formation rate is non-zero). We find that most of the scatter in relative metallicity between cold dense gas and ionized gas/nebular regions can be attributed to either local starburst events or metal-poor inflows. We also note the presence of a major merger in one of our galaxies,more »