Metal abundances of KISS galaxies. IV. Galaxian luminosity-metallicity relations in the optical and near-infrared

John J. Salzer, Janice C. Lee, Jason Melbourne, Joannah L. Hinz, Almudena Alonso-Herrero, Anna Jangren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


We explore the galaxian luminosity-metallicity (L-Z) relationship in both the optical and the near-infrared (NIR) using a combination of optical photometric and spectroscopic observations from the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) International Spectroscopic Survey (KISS) and NIR photometry from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). We supplement the 2MASS data with our own NIR photometry for a small number of lower luminosity emission-line galaxies (ELGs) that are underrepresented in the 2MASS database. Our B-band L-Z relationship includes 765 star-forming KISS galaxies with coarse abundance estimates from our follow-up spectra, while the correlation with KISS and 2MASS yields a total of 420 galaxies in our J-band L-Z relationship. We explore the effect that changing the correlation between the strong-line abundance diagnostic R23 and metallicity has on the derived L-Z relation. We find that the slope of the L-Z relationship decreases as the wavelength of the luminosity bandpass increases. We interpret this as being, at least in part, an effect of internal absorption in the host galaxy. Furthermore, the dispersion in the L-Z relation decreases for the NIR bands, suggesting that variations in internal absorption contribute significantly to the observed scatter. We propose that our NIR L-Z relations are more fundamental than the B-band relation, since they are largely free of absorption effects and the NIR luminosities are more directly related to the stellar mass of the galaxy than are the optical luminosities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-679
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - May 10 2005


  • Galaxies: abundances
  • Galaxies: starburst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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