Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey

Matthew L. Stevans, Steven L. Finkelstein, Isak Wold, Lalitwadee Kawinwanichakij, Casey Papovich, Sydney Sherman, Robin Ciardullo, Jonathan Florez, Caryl Gronwall, Shardha Jogee, Rachel S. Somerville, L. Y.Aaron Yung

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Abstract

We present a joint analysis of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) luminosity functions of continuum-selected star-forming galaxies and galaxies dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at z ∼4. These 3740 z ∼4 galaxies are selected from broadband imaging in nine photometric bands over 18 deg2 in the Spitzer/HETDEX Exploratory Large Area Survey field. The large area and moderate depth of our survey provide a unique view of the intersection between the bright end of the galaxy UV luminosity function (M AB < -22) and the faint end of the AGN UV luminosity function. We do not separate AGN-dominated galaxies from star-formation-dominated galaxies, but rather fit both luminosity functions simultaneously. These functions are best fit with a double power law for both the galaxy and AGN components, where the galaxy bright-end slope has a power-law index of -3.80 ±0.10 and the corresponding AGN faint-end slope is . We cannot rule out a Schechter-like exponential decline for the galaxy UV luminosity function, and in this scenario the AGN luminosity function has a steeper faint-end slope of . Comparison of our galaxy luminosity function results with a representative cosmological model of galaxy formation suggests that the molecular gas depletion time must be shorter, implying that star formation is more efficient in bright galaxies at z =4 than at the present day. If the galaxy luminosity function does indeed have a power-law shape at the bright end, the implied ionizing emissivity from AGNs is not inconsistent with previous observations. However, if the underlying galaxy distribution is Schechter, it implies a significantly higher ionizing emissivity from AGNs at this epoch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number63
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume863
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2018

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active galactic nuclei
field survey
luminosity
galaxies
stars
power law
emissivity
slopes
star formation
galactic evolution
molecular gases
intersections
depletion
gas
time measurement
continuums
broadband

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Stevans, M. L., Finkelstein, S. L., Wold, I., Kawinwanichakij, L., Papovich, C., Sherman, S., ... Yung, L. Y. A. (2018). Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey. Astrophysical Journal, 863(1), [63]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aacbd7
Stevans, Matthew L. ; Finkelstein, Steven L. ; Wold, Isak ; Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee ; Papovich, Casey ; Sherman, Sydney ; Ciardullo, Robin ; Florez, Jonathan ; Gronwall, Caryl ; Jogee, Shardha ; Somerville, Rachel S. ; Yung, L. Y.Aaron. / Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2018 ; Vol. 863, No. 1.
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abstract = "We present a joint analysis of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) luminosity functions of continuum-selected star-forming galaxies and galaxies dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at z ∼4. These 3740 z ∼4 galaxies are selected from broadband imaging in nine photometric bands over 18 deg2 in the Spitzer/HETDEX Exploratory Large Area Survey field. The large area and moderate depth of our survey provide a unique view of the intersection between the bright end of the galaxy UV luminosity function (M AB < -22) and the faint end of the AGN UV luminosity function. We do not separate AGN-dominated galaxies from star-formation-dominated galaxies, but rather fit both luminosity functions simultaneously. These functions are best fit with a double power law for both the galaxy and AGN components, where the galaxy bright-end slope has a power-law index of -3.80 ±0.10 and the corresponding AGN faint-end slope is . We cannot rule out a Schechter-like exponential decline for the galaxy UV luminosity function, and in this scenario the AGN luminosity function has a steeper faint-end slope of . Comparison of our galaxy luminosity function results with a representative cosmological model of galaxy formation suggests that the molecular gas depletion time must be shorter, implying that star formation is more efficient in bright galaxies at z =4 than at the present day. If the galaxy luminosity function does indeed have a power-law shape at the bright end, the implied ionizing emissivity from AGNs is not inconsistent with previous observations. However, if the underlying galaxy distribution is Schechter, it implies a significantly higher ionizing emissivity from AGNs at this epoch.",
author = "Stevans, {Matthew L.} and Finkelstein, {Steven L.} and Isak Wold and Lalitwadee Kawinwanichakij and Casey Papovich and Sydney Sherman and Robin Ciardullo and Jonathan Florez and Caryl Gronwall and Shardha Jogee and Somerville, {Rachel S.} and Yung, {L. Y.Aaron}",
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Stevans, ML, Finkelstein, SL, Wold, I, Kawinwanichakij, L, Papovich, C, Sherman, S, Ciardullo, R, Florez, J, Gronwall, C, Jogee, S, Somerville, RS & Yung, LYA 2018, 'Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 863, no. 1, 63. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aacbd7

Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey. / Stevans, Matthew L.; Finkelstein, Steven L.; Wold, Isak; Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee; Papovich, Casey; Sherman, Sydney; Ciardullo, Robin; Florez, Jonathan; Gronwall, Caryl; Jogee, Shardha; Somerville, Rachel S.; Yung, L. Y.Aaron.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 863, No. 1, 63, 10.08.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Bridging Star-forming Galaxy and AGN Ultraviolet Luminosity Functions at z =4 with the SHELA Wide-field Survey

AU - Stevans, Matthew L.

AU - Finkelstein, Steven L.

AU - Wold, Isak

AU - Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee

AU - Papovich, Casey

AU - Sherman, Sydney

AU - Ciardullo, Robin

AU - Florez, Jonathan

AU - Gronwall, Caryl

AU - Jogee, Shardha

AU - Somerville, Rachel S.

AU - Yung, L. Y.Aaron

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N2 - We present a joint analysis of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) luminosity functions of continuum-selected star-forming galaxies and galaxies dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at z ∼4. These 3740 z ∼4 galaxies are selected from broadband imaging in nine photometric bands over 18 deg2 in the Spitzer/HETDEX Exploratory Large Area Survey field. The large area and moderate depth of our survey provide a unique view of the intersection between the bright end of the galaxy UV luminosity function (M AB < -22) and the faint end of the AGN UV luminosity function. We do not separate AGN-dominated galaxies from star-formation-dominated galaxies, but rather fit both luminosity functions simultaneously. These functions are best fit with a double power law for both the galaxy and AGN components, where the galaxy bright-end slope has a power-law index of -3.80 ±0.10 and the corresponding AGN faint-end slope is . We cannot rule out a Schechter-like exponential decline for the galaxy UV luminosity function, and in this scenario the AGN luminosity function has a steeper faint-end slope of . Comparison of our galaxy luminosity function results with a representative cosmological model of galaxy formation suggests that the molecular gas depletion time must be shorter, implying that star formation is more efficient in bright galaxies at z =4 than at the present day. If the galaxy luminosity function does indeed have a power-law shape at the bright end, the implied ionizing emissivity from AGNs is not inconsistent with previous observations. However, if the underlying galaxy distribution is Schechter, it implies a significantly higher ionizing emissivity from AGNs at this epoch.

AB - We present a joint analysis of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) luminosity functions of continuum-selected star-forming galaxies and galaxies dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at z ∼4. These 3740 z ∼4 galaxies are selected from broadband imaging in nine photometric bands over 18 deg2 in the Spitzer/HETDEX Exploratory Large Area Survey field. The large area and moderate depth of our survey provide a unique view of the intersection between the bright end of the galaxy UV luminosity function (M AB < -22) and the faint end of the AGN UV luminosity function. We do not separate AGN-dominated galaxies from star-formation-dominated galaxies, but rather fit both luminosity functions simultaneously. These functions are best fit with a double power law for both the galaxy and AGN components, where the galaxy bright-end slope has a power-law index of -3.80 ±0.10 and the corresponding AGN faint-end slope is . We cannot rule out a Schechter-like exponential decline for the galaxy UV luminosity function, and in this scenario the AGN luminosity function has a steeper faint-end slope of . Comparison of our galaxy luminosity function results with a representative cosmological model of galaxy formation suggests that the molecular gas depletion time must be shorter, implying that star formation is more efficient in bright galaxies at z =4 than at the present day. If the galaxy luminosity function does indeed have a power-law shape at the bright end, the implied ionizing emissivity from AGNs is not inconsistent with previous observations. However, if the underlying galaxy distribution is Schechter, it implies a significantly higher ionizing emissivity from AGNs at this epoch.

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