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The Ha Luminosity Function and Star Formation Rate at z\sim 0.2

Research paper by Laurence Tresse, Steve J. Maddox

Indexed on: 24 Sep '97Published on: 24 Sep '97Published in: Astrophysics



Abstract

We have measured the Ha+[N II] fluxes of the I-selected Canada-France Redshift Survey (CFRS) galaxies lying at a redshift z below 0.3, and hence derived the Ha luminosity function. The magnitude limits of the CFRS mean that only the galaxies with M(B) > -21 mag were observed at these redshifts. We obtained a total Ha luminosity density of at least 10^{39.44\pm 0.04} erg/s/Mpc^{3} at a mean z=0.2 for galaxies with rest-fame EW(Ha+[N II]) > 10 Angs. This is twice the value found in the local universe by Gallego et al. 1995. Our Ha star formation rate, derived from Madau (1997) is higher than the UV observations at same z, implying a UV dust extinction of about 1 mag. We found a strong correlation between the Ha luminosity and the absolute magnitude in the B-band: M(B(AB)) = 46.7 - 1.6 log L(Ha). This work will serve as a basis of future studies of Ha luminosity distributions measured from optically-selected spectroscopic surveys of the distant universe, and it will provide a better understanding of the physical processes responsible for the observed galaxy evolution.