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Title: USING COLORS TO IMPROVE PHOTOMETRIC METALLICITY ESTIMATES FOR GALAXIES

There is a well known correlation between the mass and metallicity of star-forming galaxies. Because mass is correlated with luminosity, this relation is often exploited, when spectroscopy is not available, to estimate galaxy metallicities based on single band photometry. However, we show that galaxy color is typically more effective than luminosity as a predictor of metallicity. This is a consequence of the correlation between color and the galaxy mass-to-light ratio and the recently discovered correlation between star formation rate (SFR) and residuals from the mass-metallicity relation. Using Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopy of ∼180, 000 nearby galaxies, we derive 'LZC relations', empirical relations between metallicity (in seven common strong line diagnostics), luminosity, and color (in 10 filter pairs and four methods of photometry). We show that these relations allow photometric metallicity estimates, based on luminosity and a single optical color, that are ∼50% more precise than those made based on luminosity alone; galaxy metallicity can be estimated to within ∼0.05-0.1 dex of the spectroscopically derived value depending on the diagnostic used. Including color information in photometric metallicity estimates also reduces systematic biases for populations skewed toward high or low SFR environments, as we illustrate using the host galaxy of themore » supernova SN 2010ay. This new tool will lend more statistical power to studies of galaxy populations, such as supernova and gamma-ray burst host environments, in ongoing and future wide-field imaging surveys.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. CASA, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, 389-UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270865
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 775; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; COLOR; CORRELATIONS; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; GALAXIES; LUMINOSITY; MASS; METALS; PHOTOMETRY; STARS; VISIBLE RADIATION