CLASSY V: The Impact of Aperture Effects on the Inferred Nebular Properties of Local Star-forming Galaxies

Karla Z. Arellano-Córdova, Matilde Mingozzi, Danielle A. Berg, Bethan L. James, Noah S.J. Rogers, Alessandra Aloisi, Ricardo O. Amorín, Jarle Brinchmann, Stéphane Charlot, John Chisholm, Timothy Heckman, Stefany Fabian Dubón, Matthew Hayes, Svea Hernandez, Tucker Jones, Nimisha Kumari, Claus Leitherer, Crystal L. Martin, Themiya Nanayakkara, Richard W. PoggeRyan Sanders, Peter Senchyna, Evan D. Skillman, Dan P. Stark, Aida Wofford, Xinfeng Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Strong nebular emission lines are an important diagnostic tool for tracing the evolution of star-forming galaxies across cosmic time. However, different observational setups can affect these lines, and the derivation of the physical nebular properties. We analyze 12 local star-forming galaxies from the COS Legacy Spectroscopy SurveY (CLASSY) to assess the impact of using different aperture combinations on the determination of the physical conditions and gas-phase metallicity. We compare optical spectra observed with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release aperture, which has a 3″ diameter similar to COS, IFU, and long-slit spectra, including new LBT/MODS observations of five CLASSY galaxies. We calculate the reddening, electron densities and temperatures, metallicities, star formation rates, and equivalent widths (EWs). We find that measurements of the electron densities and temperatures, and metallicity remained roughly constant with aperture size, indicating that the gas conditions are relatively uniform for this sample. However, using IFU observations of three galaxies, we find that the E(B - V) values derived from the Balmer ratios decrease (by up to 53%) with increasing aperture size. The values change most significantly in the center of the galaxies, and level out near the COS aperture diameter of 2.″5. We examine the relative contributions from the gas and stars using the Hα and [O iii] λ5007 EWs as a function of aperture light fraction, but find little to no variations within a given galaxy. These results imply that the optical spectra provide nebular properties appropriate for the far-UV CLASSY spectra, even when narrow 1.″0 long-slit observations are used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number74
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The CLASSY team thanks the referee for thoughtful feedback that improved the paper. K.Z.A-C and D.A.B. are grateful for the support for this program, HST-GO-15840, which was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Associations of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. The CLASSY Collaboration extends special gratitude to the Lorentz Center for useful discussions during the ”Characterizing Galaxies with Spectroscopy with a view for JWST” 2017 workshop that led to the formation of the CLASSY Collaboration and survey. The CLASSY Collaboration thanks the COS team for all their assistance and advice in the reduction of the COS data. K.Z.A-C also thanks Noah Rogers for helping with the MODS data reduction for the LBT spectra and Víctor Patiño-Álvarez and Héctor Ibarral-Medel for their helpful discussions on the use of the Starlight code. B.L.J. is thankful for the support from the European Space Agency (ESA). J.B. acknowledges the support of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) through the research grants UIDB/04434/2020 and UIDP/04434/2020, through work contract No. 2020.03379.CEECIND, and through FCT project PTDC/FISAST/4862/2020. R.A. acknowledges the support of ANID Fondecyt Regular 1202007.

Funding Information:
The STARLIGHT project is supported by the Brazilian agencies CNPq, CAPES, and FAPESP and by the France-Brazil CAPES/Cofecub program. Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.


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