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The Gas-phase Mass-Metallicity Relation for Massive Galaxies at z ∼ 0.7 with the LEGA-C Survey

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title> jats:pThe massive end of the gas-phase mass–metallicity relation (MZR) is a sensitive probe of active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback that is a crucial but highly uncertain component of galaxy evolution models. In this paper, we extend the jats:italicz</jats:italic> ∼ 0.7 MZR by ∼0.5 dex up to log (jats:italicM</jats:italic> jats:sub⋆</jats:sub>/jats:italicM</jats:italic> jats:sub⊙</jats:sub>) ∼ 11.1. We use extremely deep VLT VIMOS spectra from the Large Early Galaxy Astrophysics Census (LEGA-C) survey to measure metallicities for 145 galaxies. The LEGA-C MZR matches the normalization of the jats:italicz</jats:italic> ∼ 0.8 DEEP2 MZR where they overlap, so we combine the two to create an MZR spanning from 9.3 to 11.1 log (jats:italicM</jats:italic> jats:sub⋆</jats:sub>/jats:italicM</jats:italic> jats:sub⊙</jats:sub>). The LEGA-C+DEEP2 MZR at jats:italicz</jats:italic> ∼ 0.7 is offset to slightly lower metallicities (0.05–0.13 dex) than the jats:italicz</jats:italic> ∼ 0 MZR, but it otherwise mirrors the established power-law rise at low/intermediate stellar masses and asymptotic flattening at high stellar masses. We compare the LEGA-C+DEEP2 MZR to the MZR from two cosmological simulations (IllustrisTNG and SIMBA), which predict qualitatively different metallicity trends for high-mass galaxies. This comparison highlights that our extended MZR provides a crucial observational constraint for galaxy evolution models in a mass regime where the MZR is very sensitive to choices about the implementation of AGN feedback.</jats:p>



5106 Nuclear and Plasma Physics, 51 Physical Sciences

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American Astronomical Society