JADES: Detecting [OIII]$λ4363$ Emitters and Testing Strong Line Calibrations in the High-$z$ Universe with Ultra-deep JWST/NIRSpec Spectroscopy up to $z \sim 9.5$

Isaac H. Laseter, Michael V. Maseda, Mirko Curti, Roberto Maiolino, Francesco D'Eugenio, Alex J. Cameron, Tobias J. Looser, Santiago Arribas, William M. Baker, Rachana Bhatawdekar, Kristan Boyett, Andrew J. Bunker, Stefano Carniani, Stephane Charlot, Jacopo Chevallard, Emma Curtis-lake, Eiichi Egami, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Kevin Hainline, Ryan HausenZhiyuan Ji, Nimisha Kumari, Michele Perna, Tim Rawle, Hans-Walter Rix, Brant Robertson, Bruno Rodríguez Del Pino, Lester Sandles, Jan Scholtz, Renske Smit, Sandro Tacchella, Hannah Übler, Chris Willott, Joris Witstok

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We present ten novel [OIII]λ4363 auroral line detections up to z ∼ 9.5 measured from ultra-deep JWST/NIRSpec MSA spectroscopy from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES). We leverage the deepest spectroscopic observations taken thus far with NIRSpec to determine electron temperatures and oxygen abundances using the direct Te method. We directly compare these results against a suite of locally calibrated strong-line diagnostics and recent high-z calibrations. We find the calibrations fail to simultaneously match our JADES sample, thus warranting a self-consistent revision of these calibrations for the high-z Universe. We find a weak dependence between R2 and O3O2 with metallicity, thus suggesting these line ratios are inefficient in the high-z Universe as metallicity diagnostics and degeneracy breakers. We find R3 and R23 are still correlated with metallicity, but we find a tentative flattening of these diagnostics, thus suggesting future difficulties when applying these strong line ratios as metallicity indicators in the high-z Universe. We also propose and test an alternative diagnostic based on a different combination of R3 and R2 with a higher dynamic range. We find a reasonably good agreement (median offset of 0.002 dex, median absolute offset of 0.13 dex) with the JWST sample at low metallicity, but future investigations are required on larger samples to probe past the turnover point. At a given metallicity, our sample demonstrates higher ionization and excitation ratios than local galaxies with rest-frame EWs(Hβ) ≈200 − 300 Å. However, we find the median rest-frame EWs(Hβ) of our sample to be ∼2× less than the galaxies used for the local calibrations. This EW discrepancy combined with the high ionization of our galaxies does not offer a clear description of [OIII]λ4363 production in the high-z Universe, thus warranting a much deeper examination into the factors influencing these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA70
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date2 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2024


  • astro-ph.GA
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: abundances
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: formation


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