CLASSY IV. Exploring UV Diagnostics of the Interstellar Medium in Local High-z Analogs at the Dawn of the JWST Era

Matilde Mingozzi, Bethan L. James, Karla Z. Arellano-Córdova, Danielle A. Berg, Peter Senchyna, John Chisholm, Jarle Brinchmann, Alessandra Aloisi, Ricardo O. Amorín, Stéphane Charlot, Anna Feltre, Matthew Hayes, Timothy Heckman, Alaina Henry, Svea Hernandez, Nimisha Kumari, Claus Leitherer, Mario Llerena, Crystal L. Martin, Themiya NanayakkaraSwara Ravindranath, Evan D. Skillman, Yuma Sugahara, Aida Wofford, Xinfeng Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) Legacy Archive Spectroscopic SurveY (CLASSY) provides the first high-resolution spectral catalog of 45 local high-z analogs in the ultraviolet (UV; 1200-2000 Å) to investigate their stellar and gas properties. Here we present a toolkit of UV interstellar medium (ISM) diagnostics, analyzing the main emission lines of CLASSY spectra (N iv] λ λ1483,87, C iv λλ1548,51, He ii λ1640, O iii]λ λ1661,6, Si iii] λλ1883,92, C iii] λ1907,9). Specifically, our aim is to provide accurate diagnostics for the reddening E(B − V), electron density n e , electron temperature T e , metallicity 12+log(O/H), and ionization parameter log(U), taking the different ISM ionization zones into account. We calibrate our UV toolkit using well-known optical diagnostics, analyzing archival optical spectra for all CLASSY targets. We find that UV density diagnostics estimate n e values that are ∼1-2 dex higher (e.g., n e (C iii]λ λ1907,9) ∼ 104 cm−3) than those inferred from their optical counterparts (e.g., n e ([S ii]λ λ6717,31) ∼ 102 cm−3; n e ([Ar iv]λ λ4714,41) ∼ 103 cm−3). T e derived from the hybrid ratio [O iii] λ1666/λ5007 proves to be reliable, implying differences in determining 12+log(O/H) compared to the optical counterpart O iii] λ4363/[O iii] λ5007 within ∼ ±0.3 dex. We also investigate the relation between the stellar and gas E(B − V), finding consistent values at high specific star formation rates (sSFRs; log ( sSFR ) ≳ − 8 yr−1), while at low sSFRs we confirmed an excess of dust attenuation in the gas. Finally, we investigate UV line ratios and equivalent widths to provide correlations with 12+log(O/H) and log(U), but note that there are degeneracies between the two. With this suite of UV-based diagnostics, we illustrate the pivotal role CLASSY plays in understanding the chemical and physical properties of high-z systems that JWST can observe in the rest-frame UV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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