Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE

The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies

Lee R. Spitler, Caroline M.S. Straatman, Ivo Labbé, Karl Glazebrook, Kim Vy H. Tran, Glenn G. Kacprzak, Ryan F. Quadri, Casey Papovich, S. Eric Persson, Pieter Van Dokkum, Rebecca Allen, Lalitwadee Kawinwanichakij, Daniel D. Kelson, Patrick J. McCarthy, Nicola Mehrtens, Andrew Monson, Themiya Nanayakkara, Glen Rees, Vithal Tilvi, Adam R. Tomczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our understanding of the redshift z > 3 galaxy population relies largely on samples selected using the popular "dropout" technique, typically consisting of UV-bright galaxies with blue colors and prominent Lyman breaks. As it is currently unknown if these galaxies are representative of the massive galaxy population, we here use the FOURSTAR Galaxy Evolution (ZFOURGE) survey to create a stellar mass-limited sample at z = 3-4. Uniquely, ZFOURGE uses deep near-infrared medium-bandwidth filters to derive accurate photometric redshifts and stellar population properties. The mass-complete sample consists of 57 galaxies with log M >10.6, reaching below M * at z = 3-4. On average, the massive z = 3-4 galaxies are extremely faint in the observed optical with median RtotAB (rest-frame M 1700 = -18.05 ± 0.37). They lie far below the UV luminosity-stellar mass relation for Lyman break galaxies and are about ∼100 × fainter at the same mass. The massive galaxies are red (R-K s AB = 3.9 ± 0.2; rest-frame UV-slope β = -0.2 ± 0.3) likely from dust or old stellar ages. We classify the galaxy spectral energy distributions by their rest-frame U-V and V-J colors and find a diverse population: 46-6-17 +6+10 % of the massive galaxies are quiescent, 40-6-5+6+10 % are dusty star-forming galaxies, and only 14-3-4+3+10 % resemble luminous blue star-forming Lyman break galaxies. This study clearly demonstrates an inherent diversity among massive galaxies at higher redshift than previously known. Furthermore, we uncover a reservoir of dusty star-forming galaxies with 4 × lower specific star-formation rates compared to submillimeter-selected starbursts at z > 3. With 5 × higher numbers, the dusty galaxies may represent a more typical mode of star formation compared to submillimeter-bright starbursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL36
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume787
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014

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galaxies
near infrared
dust
filter
stellar mass
energy
dropouts
color
blue stars
stars
star formation rate
spectral energy distribution
star formation
luminosity
slopes
bandwidth
filters
distribution
rate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Spitler, L. R., Straatman, C. M. S., Labbé, I., Glazebrook, K., Tran, K. V. H., Kacprzak, G. G., ... Tomczak, A. R. (2014). Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE: The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 787(2), [L36]. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/787/2/L36
Spitler, Lee R. ; Straatman, Caroline M.S. ; Labbé, Ivo ; Glazebrook, Karl ; Tran, Kim Vy H. ; Kacprzak, Glenn G. ; Quadri, Ryan F. ; Papovich, Casey ; Persson, S. Eric ; Van Dokkum, Pieter ; Allen, Rebecca ; Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee ; Kelson, Daniel D. ; McCarthy, Patrick J. ; Mehrtens, Nicola ; Monson, Andrew ; Nanayakkara, Themiya ; Rees, Glen ; Tilvi, Vithal ; Tomczak, Adam R. / Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE : The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies. In: Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2014 ; Vol. 787, No. 2.
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Spitler, LR, Straatman, CMS, Labbé, I, Glazebrook, K, Tran, KVH, Kacprzak, GG, Quadri, RF, Papovich, C, Persson, SE, Van Dokkum, P, Allen, R, Kawinwanichakij, L, Kelson, DD, McCarthy, PJ, Mehrtens, N, Monson, A, Nanayakkara, T, Rees, G, Tilvi, V & Tomczak, AR 2014, 'Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE: The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies', Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 787, no. 2, L36. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/787/2/L36

Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE : The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies. / Spitler, Lee R.; Straatman, Caroline M.S.; Labbé, Ivo; Glazebrook, Karl; Tran, Kim Vy H.; Kacprzak, Glenn G.; Quadri, Ryan F.; Papovich, Casey; Persson, S. Eric; Van Dokkum, Pieter; Allen, Rebecca; Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee; Kelson, Daniel D.; McCarthy, Patrick J.; Mehrtens, Nicola; Monson, Andrew; Nanayakkara, Themiya; Rees, Glen; Tilvi, Vithal; Tomczak, Adam R.

In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 787, No. 2, L36, 01.06.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring the z = 3-4 massive galaxy population with ZFOURGE

T2 - The prevalence of dusty and quiescent galaxies

AU - Spitler, Lee R.

AU - Straatman, Caroline M.S.

AU - Labbé, Ivo

AU - Glazebrook, Karl

AU - Tran, Kim Vy H.

AU - Kacprzak, Glenn G.

AU - Quadri, Ryan F.

AU - Papovich, Casey

AU - Persson, S. Eric

AU - Van Dokkum, Pieter

AU - Allen, Rebecca

AU - Kawinwanichakij, Lalitwadee

AU - Kelson, Daniel D.

AU - McCarthy, Patrick J.

AU - Mehrtens, Nicola

AU - Monson, Andrew

AU - Nanayakkara, Themiya

AU - Rees, Glen

AU - Tilvi, Vithal

AU - Tomczak, Adam R.

PY - 2014/6/1

Y1 - 2014/6/1

N2 - Our understanding of the redshift z > 3 galaxy population relies largely on samples selected using the popular "dropout" technique, typically consisting of UV-bright galaxies with blue colors and prominent Lyman breaks. As it is currently unknown if these galaxies are representative of the massive galaxy population, we here use the FOURSTAR Galaxy Evolution (ZFOURGE) survey to create a stellar mass-limited sample at z = 3-4. Uniquely, ZFOURGE uses deep near-infrared medium-bandwidth filters to derive accurate photometric redshifts and stellar population properties. The mass-complete sample consists of 57 galaxies with log M >10.6, reaching below M * at z = 3-4. On average, the massive z = 3-4 galaxies are extremely faint in the observed optical with median RtotAB (rest-frame M 1700 = -18.05 ± 0.37). They lie far below the UV luminosity-stellar mass relation for Lyman break galaxies and are about ∼100 × fainter at the same mass. The massive galaxies are red (R-K s AB = 3.9 ± 0.2; rest-frame UV-slope β = -0.2 ± 0.3) likely from dust or old stellar ages. We classify the galaxy spectral energy distributions by their rest-frame U-V and V-J colors and find a diverse population: 46-6-17 +6+10 % of the massive galaxies are quiescent, 40-6-5+6+10 % are dusty star-forming galaxies, and only 14-3-4+3+10 % resemble luminous blue star-forming Lyman break galaxies. This study clearly demonstrates an inherent diversity among massive galaxies at higher redshift than previously known. Furthermore, we uncover a reservoir of dusty star-forming galaxies with 4 × lower specific star-formation rates compared to submillimeter-selected starbursts at z > 3. With 5 × higher numbers, the dusty galaxies may represent a more typical mode of star formation compared to submillimeter-bright starbursts.

AB - Our understanding of the redshift z > 3 galaxy population relies largely on samples selected using the popular "dropout" technique, typically consisting of UV-bright galaxies with blue colors and prominent Lyman breaks. As it is currently unknown if these galaxies are representative of the massive galaxy population, we here use the FOURSTAR Galaxy Evolution (ZFOURGE) survey to create a stellar mass-limited sample at z = 3-4. Uniquely, ZFOURGE uses deep near-infrared medium-bandwidth filters to derive accurate photometric redshifts and stellar population properties. The mass-complete sample consists of 57 galaxies with log M >10.6, reaching below M * at z = 3-4. On average, the massive z = 3-4 galaxies are extremely faint in the observed optical with median RtotAB (rest-frame M 1700 = -18.05 ± 0.37). They lie far below the UV luminosity-stellar mass relation for Lyman break galaxies and are about ∼100 × fainter at the same mass. The massive galaxies are red (R-K s AB = 3.9 ± 0.2; rest-frame UV-slope β = -0.2 ± 0.3) likely from dust or old stellar ages. We classify the galaxy spectral energy distributions by their rest-frame U-V and V-J colors and find a diverse population: 46-6-17 +6+10 % of the massive galaxies are quiescent, 40-6-5+6+10 % are dusty star-forming galaxies, and only 14-3-4+3+10 % resemble luminous blue star-forming Lyman break galaxies. This study clearly demonstrates an inherent diversity among massive galaxies at higher redshift than previously known. Furthermore, we uncover a reservoir of dusty star-forming galaxies with 4 × lower specific star-formation rates compared to submillimeter-selected starbursts at z > 3. With 5 × higher numbers, the dusty galaxies may represent a more typical mode of star formation compared to submillimeter-bright starbursts.

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