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Physics  2000 

The Metallicity of 0.5

DOI: 10.1086/319104

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We have measured the emission line ratios in a sample of 34 CFRS star-forming galaxies with redshifts between 0.5 < z < 1.0, and computed their metallicities by means of the empirically-calibrated R_23 metallicity estimator introduced by Pagel et al. (1979). The current analysis concentrates on the 15 galaxies with L_Hbeta > 1.2x10^41 erg s-1. Although our results can only be regarded as preliminary until near-IR spectroscopy of Halpha and [NII]6583 are available, the metallicities of these galaxies appear to be remarkably similar to those of local galaxies selected in the same way, and there appears to have been little change in the relationship between metallicity and line- and continuum-luminosity from z~1 to today. At this stage our results do not support the idea that these galaxies, known to be generally small and with late-type morphologies, are dwarf galaxies brightened by large bursts of star-formation, as had been suggested from previous studies. Rather, our findings are more consistent with a picture in which these systems are the progenitors of today's massive metal-rich galaxies.


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