Blueberry Galaxies: The Lowest Mass Young Starbursts

Huan Yang, Sangeeta Malhotra, James E. Rhoads, Junxian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Searching for extreme emission line galaxies allows us to find low-mass metal-poor galaxies that are good analogs of high redshift Lyμ emitting galaxies. These low-mass extreme emission line galaxies are also potential Lyman-continuum leakers. Finding them at very low redshifts (z ≲ 0.05) allows us to be sensitive to even lower stellar masses and metallicities. We report on a sample of extreme emission line galaxies at (blueberry galaxies). We selected them from SDSS broadband images on the basis of their broadband colors and studied their properties with MMT spectroscopy. From the entire SDSS DR12 photometric catalog, we found 51 photometric candidates. We spectroscopically confirm 40 as blueberry galaxies. (An additional seven candidates are contaminants, and four remain without spectra.) These blueberries are dwarf starburst galaxies with very small sizes (<1 kpc) and very high ionization ([O iii]/[O ii] ∼ 10-60). They also have some of the lowest stellar masses ((log(M/M) ∼ 6.5-7.5) and lowest metallicities (7.1 < 12 + log(O/H) < 7.8) of starburst galaxies. Thus, they are small counterparts to green pea galaxies and high redshift Lyα emitting galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017


  • H II regions
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: star formation
  • galaxies: starburst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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