We present a 3D version of common emission line diagnostic diagrams used to identify the source of ionization in galaxies, and highlight interesting features in this new 3D space, which are associated with global galaxy properties. Namely, we combine the BPT and Mass-Excitation (MEx) diagrams, and apply it to a set of >300,000 galaxies from the SDSS survey. Among other features, we show that the usual “branch” of star-forming galaxies becomes a curved surface in the new 3D space. Understanding the underlying reasons can shed light on the nearby galaxy population but also aid our interpretation of high-redshift surveys, which indicate a strong evolution of emission line ratios. Despite efforts to explain the origin of this strong evolution, a consensus has not yet been reached. Yet, the implications are crucial to our understanding of galaxy growth across cosmic time, and in particular to assess how star forming regions differed at earlier times (gas properties? stellar properties? a combination?). We perform this analysis within the framework of the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu) jointly with public visualization tools. The final workflow will be released publicly.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #232
- Pub Date:
- June 2018