Aperture corrections for disk galaxy properties derived from the CALIFA survey. Balmer emission lines in spiral galaxies

Iglesias-Páramo, J.; Vílchez, J. M.; Galbany, L.; Sánchez, S. F.; Rosales-Ortega, F. F.; Mast, D.; García-Benito, R.; Husemann, B.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Alves, J.; Bekeraité, S.; Bland-Hawthorn, J.; Catalán-Torrecilla, C.; de Amorim, A. L.; de Lorenzo-Cáceres, A.; Ellis, S.; Falcón-Barroso, J.; Flores, H.; Florido, E.; Gallazzi, A.; Gomes, J. M.; González Delgado, R. M.; Haines, T.; Hernández-Fernández, J. D.; Kehrig, C.; López-Sánchez, A. R.; Lyubenova, M.; Marino, R. A.; Mollá, M.; Monreal-Ibero, A.; Mourão, A.; Papaderos, P.; Sánchez-Blázquez, P.; Spekkens, K.; Stanishev, V.; van de Ven, G.; Walcher, C. J.; Wisotzki, L.; Zibetti, S.; Ziegler, B.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 553, id.L7, 5 pp. (2013).


This work investigates the effect of the aperture size on derived galaxy properties for which we have spatially-resolved optical spectra. We focus on some indicators of star formation activity and dust attenuation for spiral galaxies that have been widely used in previous work on galaxy evolution. We have used 104 spiral galaxies from the CALIFA survey for which 2D spectroscopy with complete spatial coverage is available. From the 3D cubes we have derived growth curves of the most conspicuous Balmer emission lines (Halpha, Hbeta) for circular apertures of different radii centered at the galaxy's nucleus after removing the underlying stellar continuum. We find that the Halpha flux (f(Halpha)) growth curve follows a well defined sequence with aperture radius showing low dispersion around the median value. From this analysis, we derive aperture corrections for galaxies in different magnitude and redshift intervals. Once stellar absorption is properly accounted for, the f(Halpha)/f(Hbeta) ratio growth curve shows a smooth decline, pointing towards the absence of differential dust attenuation as a function of radius. Aperture corrections as a function of the radius are provided in the interval [0.3,2.5]R_50. Finally, the Halpha equivalent width (EW(Halpha)) growth curve increases with the size of the aperture and shows a very large dispersion for small apertures. This large dispersion prevents the use of reliable aperture corrections for this quantity. In addition, this result suggests that separating star-forming and quiescent galaxies based on observed EW(Halpha) through small apertures is likely to result in low EW(Halpha) star-forming galaxies begin classified as quiescent.