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Title: Chemical Abundance Scaling Relations for Multiple Elements in z ≃ 2–3 Star-forming Galaxies
Abstract The chemical abundance patterns of gas and stars in galaxies are powerful probes of galaxies’ star formation histories and the astrophysics of galaxy assembly but are challenging to measure with confidence in distant galaxies. In this paper, we report the first measurements of the correlation between stellar mass ( M * ) and multiple tracers of chemical enrichment (including O, N, and Fe) in individual z ∼ 2–3 galaxies, using a sample of 195 star-forming galaxies from the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey. The galaxies’ chemical abundances are inferred using photoionization models capable of reconciling high-redshift galaxies’ observed extreme rest-UV and rest-optical spectroscopic properties. We find that the M * –O/H relation for our sample is relatively shallow, with moderately large scatter, and is offset ∼0.35 dex higher than the corresponding M * –Fe/H relation. The two relations have very similar slopes, indicating a high level of α -enhancement—O/Fe ≈ 2.2 × (O/Fe) ⊙ —across two decades in M * . The M * –N/H relation has the steepest slope and largest intrinsic scatter, which likely results from the fact that many z ∼ 2 galaxies are observed near or past the transition from “primary” to “secondary” N production, and more » may reflect uncertainties in the astrophysical origin of N. Together, these results suggest that z ∼ 2 galaxies are old enough to have seen substantial enrichment from intermediate-mass stars, but are still young enough that Type Ia supernovae have not had time to contribute significantly to their enrichment. « less
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Award ID(s):
2009313 2009278
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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