SDSS IV MaNGA - spatially resolved diagnostic diagrams: a proof that many galaxies are LIERs

Francesco Belfiore, Roberto Maiolino, Claudia Maraston, Eric Emsellem, Matthew A. Bershady, Karen L. Masters, Renbin Yan, Dmitry Bizyaev, Médéric Boquien, Joel R. Brownstein, Kevin Bundy, Niv Drory, Timothy M. Heckman, David R. Law, Alexandre Roman-Lopes, Kaike Pan, Letizia Stanghellini, Daniel Thomas, Anne-Marie Weijmans, Kyle B. Westfall

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We study the spatially resolved excitation properties of the ionised gas in a sample of 646 galaxies using integral field spectroscopy data from SDSS-IV MaNGA. Making use of Baldwin-Philips-Terlevich diagnostic diagrams we demonstrate the ubiquitous presence of extended (kpc scale) low ionisation emission-line regions (LIERs) in both star forming and quiescent galaxies. In star forming galaxies LIER emission can be associated with diffuse ionised gas, most evident as extra-planar emission in edge-on systems. In addition, we iden- tify two main classes of galaxies displaying LIER emission: 'central LIER' (cLIER) galaxies, where central LIER emission is spatially extended, but accompanied by star formation at larger galactocentric distances, and 'extended LIER' (eLIER) galaxies, where LIER emission is extended throughout the whole galaxy. In eLIER and cLIER galaxies, LIER emission is associated with radially flat, low Hα equivalent width of line emission ( < 3 Å) and stellar population indices demonstrating the lack of young stellar populations, implying that line emission follows tightly the continuum due to the underlying old stellar population. The Hα surface brightness radial profiles are always shallower than 1/r2 and the line ratio [OIII]λ5007/[OII]λ3727,29 (a tracer of the ion- isation parameter of the gas) shows a flat gradient. This combined evidence strongly supports the scenario in which LIER emission is not due to a central point source but to diffuse stellar sources, the most likely candidates being hot, evolved (post-asymptotic giant branch) stars. Shocks are observed to play a significant role in the ionisation of the gas only in rare merging and interacting systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3111-3134
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date23 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2016


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Survey


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