HETDEX Pilot Survey. VI. Emitters and Expectations for a Local Sample of Star-forming Galaxies in HETDEX

Briana Indahl, Greg Zeimann, Gary J. Hill, Steven L. Finkelstein, Robin Ciardullo, Joanna S. Bridge, Taylor Chonis, Niv Drory, Caryl Gronwall, Hanshin Lee, Kristen McQuinn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We assemble an unbiased sample of 29 galaxies with [O ii] λ3727 and/or [O iii] λ5007 detections at z < 0.15 from the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) Pilot Survey (HPS). The HPS finds galaxies without preselection based on their detected emission lines via integral field spectroscopy. Sixteen of these objects were followed up with the second-generation, low-resolution spectrograph on the upgraded HET. Oxygen abundances were then derived via strong emission lines using a Bayesian approach. We find that most of the galaxies fall along the mass-metallicity relation derived from photometrically selected star-forming galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). However, two of these galaxies have low metallicity (similar to the very rare green pea galaxies in mass-metallicity space). The star formation rates (SFRs) of this sample fall in an intermediate space between the SDSS star-forming main sequence and the extreme green pea galaxies. We conclude that spectroscopic selection fills a part of the mass-metallicity-SFR phase space that is missed in photometric surveys with preselection like SDSS; i.e., we find galaxies that are actively forming stars but are faint in continuum. We use the results of this pilot investigation to make predictions for the upcoming unbiased, large spectroscopic sample of local line emitters from HETDEX. With the larger HETDEX survey, we will determine if galaxies selected spectroscopically without continuum brightness preselection have metallicities that fall on a continuum that bridges typical star-forming and rarer, more extreme systems like green peas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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