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  1. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic dust is an essential component shaping both the evolution of galaxies and their observational signatures. How quickly dust builds up in the early Universe remains an open question that requires deep observations at (sub-)millimetre wavelengths to resolve. Here, we use Atacama Large Millimeter Array observations of 45 galaxies from the Reionization Era Bright Emission Line Survey (REBELS) and its pilot programs, designed to target [C ii] and dust emission in UV-selected galaxies at z ∼ 7, to investigate the dust content of high-redshift galaxies through a stacking analysis. We find that the typical fraction of obscured star formation fobs = SFRIR/SFRUV+IR depends on stellar mass, similar to what is observed at lower redshift, and ranges from fobs ≈ 0.3 − 0.6 for galaxies with log10(M⋆/M⊙) = 9.4–10.4. We further adopt the z ∼ 7 stellar mass function from the literature to extract the obscured cosmic star formation rate density (SFRD) from the REBELS survey. Our results suggest only a modest decrease in the SFRD between 3 ≲ z ≲ 7, with dust-obscured star formation still contributing ${\sim}30{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at z ∼ 7. While we extensively discuss potential caveats, our analysis highlights the continued importance of dust-obscured star formation even well intomore »the epoch of reionization.

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  2. Abstract The H i gas content is a key ingredient in galaxy evolution, the study of which has been limited to moderate cosmological distances for individual galaxies due to the weakness of the hyperfine H i 21 cm transition. Here we present a new approach that allows us to infer the H i gas mass M HI of individual galaxies up to z ≈ 6, based on a direct measurement of the [C ii ]-to-H i conversion factor in star-forming galaxies at z ≳ 2 using γ -ray burst afterglows. By compiling recent [C ii ]-158 μ m emission line measurements we quantify the evolution of the H i content in galaxies through cosmic time. We find that M HI starts to exceed the stellar mass M ⋆ at z ≳ 1, and increases as a function of redshift. The H i fraction of the total baryonic mass increases from around 20% at z = 0 to about 60% at z ∼ 6. We further uncover a universal relation between the H i gas fraction M HI / M ⋆ and the gas-phase metallicity, which seems to hold from z ≈ 6 to z = 0. The majority of galaxiesmore »at z > 2 are observed to have H i depletion times, t dep,HI = M HI /SFR, less than ≈2 Gyr, substantially shorter than for z ∼ 0 galaxies. Finally, we use the [C ii ]-to-H i conversion factor to determine the cosmic mass density of H i in galaxies, ρ HI , at three distinct epochs: z ≈ 0, z ≈ 2, and z ∼ 4–6. These measurements are consistent with previous estimates based on 21 cm H i observations in the local universe and with damped Ly α absorbers (DLAs) at z ≳ 2, suggesting an overall decrease by a factor of ≈5 in ρ HI ( z ) from the end of the reionization epoch to the present.« less
  3. ABSTRACT

    The ionizing photon escape fraction [Lyman continuum (LyC) fesc] of star-forming galaxies is the single greatest unknown in the reionization budget. Stochastic sightline effects prohibit the direct separation of LyC leakers from non-leakers at significant redshifts. Here we circumvent this uncertainty by inferring fesc using resolved (R > 4000) Lyman α (Lyα) profiles from the X-SHOOTER Lyα survey at z = 2 (XLS-z2). With empirically motivated criteria, we use Lyα profiles to select leakers ($f_{\mathrm{ esc}} > 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) and non-leakers ($f_{\mathrm{ esc}} < 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) from a representative sample of >0.2L* Lyman α emitters (LAEs). We use median stacked spectra of these subsets over λrest ≈ 1000–8000 Å to investigate the conditions for LyC fesc. Our stacks show similar mass, metallicity, MUV, and βUV. We find the following differences between leakers versus non-leakers: (i) strong nebular C iv and He ii emission versus non-detections; (ii) [O iii]/[O ii] ≈ 8.5 versus ≈3; (iii) Hα/Hβ indicating no dust versus E(B − V) ≈ 0.3; (iv) Mg ii emission close to the systemic velocity versus redshifted, optically thick Mg ii; and (v) Lyα fesc of ${\approx} 50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ versus ${\approx} 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. The extreme equivalent widths (EWs) in leakers ([O iii]+$\mathrm{ H}\beta \approx 1100$ Å rest frame)more »constrain the characteristic time-scale of LyC escape to ≈3–10 Myr bursts when short-lived stars with the hardest ionizing spectra shine. The defining traits of leakers – extremely ionizing stellar populations, low column densities, a dust-free, high-ionization state interstellar medium (ISM) – occur simultaneously in the $f_{\rm esc} > 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ stack, suggesting they are causally connected, and motivating why indicators like [O iii]/[O ii] may suffice to constrain fesc at z > 6 with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The leakers comprise half of our sample, have a median LyC$f_{\rm esc} \approx 50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (conservative range: $20\!-\!55{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$), and an ionizing production efficiency $\log ({\xi _{\rm {ion}}/\rm {Hz\ erg^{-1}}})\approx 25.9$ (conservative range: 25.7–25.9). These results show LAEs – the type of galaxies rare at z ≈ 2, but that become the norm at higher redshift – are highly efficient ionizers, with extreme ξion and prolific fesc occurring in sync.

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  4. ABSTRACT The infrared (IR) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of main-sequence galaxies in the early Universe (z > 4) is currently unconstrained as IR continuum observations are time-consuming and not feasible for large samples. We present Atacama Large Millimetre Array Band 8 observations of four main-sequence galaxies at z ∼ 5.5 to study their IR SED shape in detail. Our continuum data (rest-frame 110 $\rm \mu m$, close to the peak of IR emission) allows us to constrain luminosity-weighted dust temperatures and total IR luminosities. With data at longer wavelengths, we measure for the first time the emissivity index at these redshifts to provide more robust estimates of molecular gas masses based on dust continuum. The Band 8 observations of three out of four galaxies can only be reconciled with optically thin emission redward of rest-frame $100\, {\rm \mu m}$. The derived dust peak temperatures at z ∼ 5.5 ($30\!-\!43\, {\rm K}$) are elevated compared to average local galaxies, however, $\sim 10\, {\rm K}$ below what would be predicted from an extrapolation of the trend at z < 4. This behaviour can be explained by decreasing dust abundance (or density) towards high redshifts, which would cause the IR SED at the peakmore »to be more optically thin, making hot dust more visible to the external observer. From the $850{\hbox{-}}{\rm \mu m}$ dust continuum, we derive molecular gas masses between 1010 and $10^{11}\, {\rm M_{\odot }}$ and gas fractions (gas over total mass) of $30\!-\!80{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (gas depletion times of $100\!-\!220\, {\rm Myr}$). All in all, our results provide a first measured benchmark SED to interpret future millimetre observations of normal, main-sequence galaxies in the early Universe.« less
  5. Abstract The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (ASPECS) Band 6 scan (212–272 GHz) covers potential [C ii ] emission in galaxies at 6 ≤ z ≤ 8 throughout a 2.9 arcmin 2 area. By selecting on known Ly α emitters (LAEs) and photometric dropout galaxies in the field, we perform targeted searches down to a 5 σ [C ii ] luminosity depth L [C II ] ∼ 2.0 × 10 8 L ⊙ , corresponding roughly to star formation rates (SFRs) of 10–20 M ⊙ yr −1 when applying a locally calibrated conversion for star-forming galaxies, yielding zero detections. While the majority of galaxies in this sample are characterized by lower SFRs, the resulting upper limits on [C ii ] luminosity in these sources are consistent with the current literature sample of targeted ALMA observations of z = 6–7 LAEs and Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs), as well as the locally calibrated relations between L [C ii ] and SFR—with the exception of a single [C ii ]-deficient, UV-luminous LBG. We also perform a blind search for [C ii ]-bright galaxies that may have been missed by optical selections, resulting in an upper limitmore »on the cumulative number density of [C ii ] sources with L [C II ] > 2.0 × 10 8 L ⊙ (5 σ ) to be less than 1.8 × 10 −4 Mpc −3 (90% confidence level). At this luminosity depth and volume coverage, we present an observed evolution of the [C ii ] luminosity function from z = 6–8 to z ∼ 0 by comparing the ASPECS measurement to literature results at lower redshift.« less
  6. Abstract

    We present new ALMA observations and physical properties of a Lyman break galaxy at z = 7.15. Our target, B14-65666, has a bright ultra-violet (UV) absolute magnitude, MUV ≈ −22.4, and has been spectroscopically identified in Lyα with a small rest-frame equivalent width of ≈4 Å. A previous Hubble Space TElescope (HST) image has shown that the target is composed of two spatially separated clumps in the rest-frame UV. With ALMA, we have newly detected spatially resolved [O iii] 88 μm, [C ii] 158 μm, and their underlying dust continuum emission. In the whole system of B14-65666, the [O iii] and [C ii] lines have consistent redshifts of 7.1520 ± 0.0003, and the [O iii] luminosity, (34.4 ± 4.1) × 108 L⊙, is about three times higher than the [C ii] luminosity, (11.0 ± 1.4) × 108 L⊙. With our two continuum flux densities, the dust temperature is constrained to be Td ≈ 50–60 K under the assumption of a dust emissivity index of βd = 2.0–1.5, leading to a large total infrared luminosity of LTIR ≈ 1 × 1012 L⊙. Owing to our high spatial resolution data, we show that the [O iii] and [C ii] emission can be spatially decomposed into two clumps associated with the two rest-frame UV clumps whose spectra aremore »kinematically separated by ≈200 km s−1. We also find these two clumps have comparable UV, infrared, [O iii], and [C ii] luminosities. Based on these results, we argue that B14-65666 is a starburst galaxy induced by a major merger. The merger interpretation is also supported by the large specific star formation rate (defined as the star formation rate per unit stellar mass), sSFR $= 260^{+119}_{-57}\:$Gyr−1, inferred from our SED fitting. Probably, a strong UV radiation field caused by intense star formation contributes to its high dust temperature and the [O iii]-to-[C ii] luminosity ratio.

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