Integral field spectroscopy of a sample of nearby galaxies II. Properties of the H parallel to regions

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We analyse the spectroscopic properties of thousands of H _Π regions identified in 38 face-on spiral galaxies. All galaxies were observed out to 2.4 effective radii using integral field spectroscopy (IFS) over the wavelength range ~3700 to ~6900 Å. The near uniform sample has been assembled from the PPAK IFS Nearby Galaxy (PINGS) survey and a sample described in Paper I. We develop a new automatic procedure to detect H_Π regions, based on the contrast of the H_α intensity maps extracted from the datacubes. Once detected, the algorithm provides us with the integrated spectra of each individual segmented region. In total, we derive good quality spectroscopic information for ~2600 independent H_Π regions/complexes. This is by far the largest H_Π region survey of its kind. Our selection criteria and the use of 3D spectroscopy guarantee that we cover the regions in an unbiased way. A well-tested automatic decoupling procedure has been applied to remove the underlying stellar population, deriving the main properties (intensity, dispersion and velocity) of the strongest emission lines in the considered wavelength range (covering from [O_Π] λ3727 to [S_Π] λ6731). A final catalogue of the spectroscopic properties of H_Π regions has been created for each galaxy, which includes information on morphology, spiral structure, gaskinematics, and surface brightness of the underlying stellar population. In the current study, we focus on the understanding of the average properties of the H_Π regions and their radial distributions. We find a significant change in the ionisation characteristics of H_Π regions within r < 0.25 re due to contamination from sources with different ionising characteristics, as we discuss. We find that the gas-phase oxygen abundance and the Hα equivalent width present a negative and positive gradient, respectively. The distribution of slopes is statistically compatible with a random Gaussian distribution around the mean value, if the radial distances are measured in units of the respective effective radius. No difference in the slope is found for galaxies of different morphologies, e.g. barred/non-barred, grand-design/flocculent. Therefore, the effective radius is a universal scale length for gradients in the evolution of galaxies. Some properties have a large variance across each object and between galaxies (e.g. electron density) without a clear characteristic value. But other properties are well described by an average value either galaxy by galaxy or among the different galaxies (e.g. dust attenuation).
© ESO, 2012. We thank the referee for the detailed and helpful comments that have improved considerably the quality of this article. We thank the director of CEFCA, Dr. M. Moles, for his sincere support to this project. We thank the Viabilidad, Diseño, Acceso y Mejora funding program, ICTS-2009-10, for funding the data acquisition of this project. S. F. S., F. F.R.O. and D. Mast thank the Plan Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo funding programs, AYA2010-22111-C03-03 and AYA2010-10904E, of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, for the support given to this project. S. F. S. wants to note that the project continues despite of the lack of support of the same program during the 2012 period. F. F.R.O. acknowledges the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) for financial support under the programme Estancias Posdoctorales y Sabáticas al Extranjero para la Consolidación de Grupos de Investigación, 2010-2011 J.M. and J.P. acknowledge financial support from the Spanish grant AYA2010-15169 and Junta de Andalucía TIC114 and Excellence Project P08-TIC-03531. D. M. and A.M.-I. are supported by the Spanish Research Council within the program JAE-Doc, Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios, co-funded by the FSE. R. A. Marino was also funded by the spanish programme of International Campus of Excellence Moncloa (CEI). J.I.-P., J.M. V., A.M.-I. and C. K. have been partially funded by the projects AYA2010-21887 from the Spanish PNAYA, CSD2006-00070 "1st Science with GTC" from the CONSOLIDER 2010 programme of the Spanish MICINN, and TIC114 Galaxias y Cosmología of the Junta de Andalucía (Spain). This paper makes use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web Site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.
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