The [O II] ƛ3727 luminosity function of the local universe

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The measurement of the star formation rate density of the universe is of prime importance in understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies. The [O II] ƛ3727 emission-line flux, easy to measure up to z ≈ 1.4 within deep redshift surveys in the optical and up to z ≈ 5/4 in the near-infrared, offers a reliable means of characterizing the star formation properties of high-z objects. In order to provide the high-z studies with a local reference, we have measured total [O II] ƛ3727 fluxes for the well-analyzed local sample of star-forming galaxies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid Survey. These data are used to derive the [O II] ƛ3727 luminosity function for local star-forming galaxies. When compared with similar luminosity densities published for redshift up to z ≈ 1, the overall evolution already observed in the star formation activity of the universe is confirmed.
© 2002. The American Astronomical Society. Valuable discussions with A. Alonso Herrero, P. G. Pérez González, and S. Pascual are gratefully acknowledged. We would also like to thank the anonymous referee for his/her useful suggestions that improved this Letter. This work was supported in part by the Spanish Plan Nacional de Astronomía y Astrofísica under grant AYA2000-1790.
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