skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on July 24, 2024

Title: A Spatially Resolved Analysis of Star Formation Burstiness by Comparing UV and Hα in Galaxies at z ∼ 1 with UVCANDELS
Abstract The UltraViolet imaging of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey Fields (UVCANDELS) program provides Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/UVIS F275W imaging for four CANDELS fields. We combine this UV imaging with existing HST/near-IR grism spectroscopy from 3D-HST+AGHAST to directly compare the resolved rest-frame UV and H α emission for a sample of 979 galaxies at 0.7 < z < 1.5, spanning a range in stellar mass of 10 8−11.5 M ⊙ . Using a stacking analysis, we perform a resolved comparison between homogenized maps of rest-UV and H α to compute the average UV-to-H α luminosity ratio (an indicator of burstiness in star formation) as a function of galactocentric radius. We find that galaxies below stellar mass of ∼10 9.5 M ⊙ , at all radii, have a UV-to-H α ratio higher than the equilibrium value expected from constant star formation, indicating a significant contribution from bursty star formation. Even for galaxies with stellar mass ≳10 9.5 M ⊙ , the UV-to-H α ratio is elevated toward their outskirts ( R / R eff > 1.5), suggesting that bursty star formation is likely prevalent in the outskirts of even the most massive galaxies, but is likely overshadowed by their brighter cores. Furthermore, we present the UV-to-H α ratio as a function of galaxy surface brightness, a proxy for stellar mass surface density, and find that regions below ∼10 7.5 M ⊙ kpc −2 are consistent with bursty star formation, regardless of their galaxy stellar mass, potentially suggesting that local star formation is independent of global galaxy properties at the smallest scales. Last, we find galaxies at z > 1.1 to have bursty star formation, regardless of radius or surface brightness.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2006894 2006400
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT We perform an aperture-matched analysis of dust-corrected H α and UV star formation rates (SFRs) using 303 star-forming galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts 1.36 < zspec < 2.66 from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field survey. By combining H α and H β emission line measurements with multiwaveband resolved Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey/3D-HST imaging, we directly compare dust-corrected H α and UV SFRs, inferred assuming a fixed attenuation curve shape and constant SFHs, within the spectroscopic aperture. Previous studies have found that H α and UV SFRs inferred with these assumptions generally agree for typical star-forming galaxies, but become increasingly discrepant for galaxies with higher SFRs (≳100 M⊙ yr−1), with H α-to-UV SFR ratios being larger for these galaxies. Our analysis shows that this trend persists even after carefully accounting for the apertures over which H α and UV-based SFRs (and the nebular and stellar continuum reddening) are derived. Furthermore, our results imply that H α SFRs may be higher in the centres of large galaxies (i.e. where there is coverage by the spectroscopic aperture) compared to their outskirts, which could be indicative of inside-out galaxy growth. Overall, we suggest that the persistent difference between nebular and stellar continuum reddening and high H α-to-UV SFR ratios at the centres of large galaxies may be indicative of a patchier distribution of dust in galaxies with high SFRs. 
    more » « less

    Both observations and simulations have shown strong evidence for highly time-variable star formation in low-mass and/or high-redshift galaxies, which has important observational implications because high-redshift galaxy samples are rest-ultraviolet (rest-UV) selected and therefore particularly sensitive to the recent star formation. Using a suite of cosmological ‘zoom-in’ simulations at z > 5 from the Feedback in Realistic Environments project, we examine the implications of bursty star formation histories for observations of high-redshift galaxies with JWST. We characterize how the galaxy observability depends on the star formation history. We also investigate selection effects due to bursty star formation on the physical properties measured, such as the gas fraction, specific star formation rate, and metallicity. We find the observability to be highly time-dependent for galaxies near the survey’s limiting flux due to the star formation rate variability: as the star formation rate fluctuates, the same galaxy oscillates in and out of the observable sample. The observable fraction $f_\mathrm{obs} = 50~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at z ∼ 7 and M⋆ ∼ 108.5–$10^{9}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ for a JWST/NIRCam survey reaching a limiting magnitude of $m^\mathrm{lim}_\mathrm{AB} \sim 29{\!-\!}30$, representative of surveys such as JADES and CEERS. JWST-detectable galaxies near the survey limit tend to have properties characteristic of galaxies in the bursty phase: on average, they show approximately 2.5 times higher cold, dense gas fractions and 20 times higher specific star formation rates at a given stellar mass than galaxies below the rest-UV detection threshold. Our study represents a first step in quantifying selection effects and the associated biases due to bursty star formation in studying high-redshift galaxy properties.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Using spatially resolved Hαemission line maps of star-forming galaxies, we study the spatial distribution of star formation over a wide range in redshift (0.5 ≲z≲ 1.7). Ourz∼ 0.5 measurements come from deep Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Wide Field Camera 3 G102 grism spectroscopy obtained as part of the CANDELS LyαEmission at Reionization Experiment. For star-forming galaxies with log(M*/M) ≥ 8.96, the mean Hαeffective radius is 1.2 ± 0.1 times larger than that of the stellar continuum, implying inside-out growth via star formation. This measurement agrees within 1σwith those measured atz∼ 1 andz∼ 1.7 from the 3D-HST and KMOS3Dsurveys, respectively, implying no redshift evolution. However, we observe redshift evolution in the stellar mass surface density within 1 kpc (Σ1kpc). Star-forming galaxies atz∼ 0.5 with a stellar mass of log(M*/M) = 9.5 have a ratio of Σ1kpcin Hαrelative to their stellar continuum that is lower by (19 ± 2)% compared toz∼ 1 galaxies. Σ1kpc,Hα1kpc,Contdecreases toward higher stellar masses. The majority of the redshift evolution in Σ1kpc,Hα1kpc,Contversus stellar mass stems from the fact that log(Σ1kpc,Hα) declines twice as much as log(Σ1kpc,Cont) fromz∼ 1 to 0.5 (at a fixed stellar mass of log(M*/M) = 9.5). By comparing our results to the TNG50 cosmological magneto-hydrodynamical simulation, we rule out dust as the driver of this evolution. Our results are consistent with inside-out quenching following in the wake of inside-out growth, the former of which drives the significant drop in Σ1kpc,Hαfromz∼ 1 toz∼ 0.5.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Understanding the rate at which stars form is central to studies of galaxy formation. Observationally, the star formation rates (SFRs) of galaxies are measured using the luminosity in different frequency bands, often under the assumption of a time-steady SFR in the recent past. We use star formation histories (SFHs) extracted from cosmological simulations of star-forming galaxies from the FIRE project to analyse the time-scales to which the H α and far-ultraviolet (FUV) continuum SFR indicators are sensitive. In these simulations, the SFRs are highly time variable for all galaxies at high redshift, and continue to be bursty to z = 0 in dwarf galaxies. When FIRE SFHs are partitioned into their bursty and time-steady phases, the best-fitting FUV time-scale fluctuates from its ∼10 Myr value when the SFR is time-steady to ≳100 Myr immediately following particularly extreme bursts of star formation during the bursty phase. On the other hand, the best-fitting averaging time-scale for H α is generally insensitive to the SFR variability in the FIRE simulations and remains ∼5 Myr at all times. These time-scales are shorter than the 100 and 10 Myr time-scales sometimes assumed in the literature for FUV and H α, respectively, because while the FUV emission persists for stellar populations older than 100 Myr, the time-dependent luminosities are strongly dominated by younger stars. Our results confirm that the ratio of SFRs inferred using H α versus FUV can be used to probe the burstiness of star formation in galaxies. 
    more » « less

    We present measurements of the dependence of the clustering amplitude of galaxies on their star formation rate (SFR) and stellar mass (M*) at 0.7 < z < 1.5 to assess the extent to which environment affects these properties. While these relations are well determined in the local Universe, they are much more poorly known at earlier times. For this analysis, we make use of the near-infrared HST WFC3 grism spectroscopic data in the five CANDELS fields obtained as part of the 3D-HST survey. We make projected two-point correlation function measurements using ∼6000 galaxies with accurate redshifts, M*, and H α luminosities. We find a strong dependence of clustering amplitude on H α luminosity and thus SFR. However, at fixed M*, the clustering dependence on H α luminosity is largely eliminated. We model the clustering of these galaxies within the halo occupation distribution framework using the conditional luminosity function model and the newly developed conditional stellar mass and H α luminosity distribution model. These show that galaxies with higher SFRs tend to live in higher mass haloes, but this is largely driven by the relationship between SFR and M*. Finally, we show that the small residual correlation between clustering amplitude and H α luminosity at fixed M* is likely being driven by a broadening of the SFR–M* relationship for satellite galaxies.

    more » « less