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  1. Abstract

    We present ultradeep Keck/MOSFIRE rest-optical spectra of two star-forming galaxies atz= 2.18 in the COSMOS field with bright emission lines, representing more than 20 hr of total integration. The fidelity of these spectra enabled the detection of more than 20 unique emission lines for each galaxy, including the first detection of the auroral [Oii]λλ7322, 7332 lines at high redshift. We use these measurements to calculate the electron temperature in the low-ionization O+zone of the ionized interstellar medium and derive abundance ratios of O/H, N/H, and N/O using the direct method. The N/O andα/Fe abundance patterns of these galaxies are consistent with rapid formation timescales and ongoing strong starbursts, in accord with their high specific star formation rates. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using auroral [Oii] measurements for accurate metallicity studies at high redshift in a higher-metallicity and lower-excitation regime previously unexplored with the direct method in distant galaxies. These results also highlight the difficulty in obtaining the measurements required for direct-method metallicities from the ground. We emphasize the advantages that the JWST/NIRSpec instrument will bring to high-redshift metallicity studies, where the combination of increased sensitivity and uninterrupted wavelength coverage will yield more than an order of magnitude increasemore »in efficiency for multiplexed auroral-line surveys relative to current ground-based facilities. Consequently, the advent of JWST promises to be the beginning of a new era of precision chemical abundance studies of the early universe at a level of detail rivaling that of local galaxy studies.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT

    We present a detailed study of a galaxy merger taking place at z = 1.89 in the GOODS-S field. Here, we analyse Keck/MOSFIRE spectroscopic observations from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey along with multiwavelength photometry assembled by the 3D-HST survey. The combined data set is modelled to infer the past star formation histories (SFHs) of both merging galaxies. They are found to be massive, with log10(M*/M⊙) > 11, with a close mass ratio satisfying the typical major-merger definition. Additionally, in the context of delayed-τ models, GOODS-S 43114, and GOODS-S 43683 have similar SFHs and low star formation rates (log10(SFR(SED)/${\rm M}_{\odot }\,\rm {yr}^{-1}$) < 1.0) compared to their past averages. The best-fitting model SEDs show elevated H δA values for both galaxies, indicating that their stellar spectra are dominated by A-type stars, and that star formation peaked ∼0.5−1 Gyr ago and has recently declined. Additionally, based on SED fitting both merging galaxies turned on and shut off star formation within a few hundred Myr of each other, suggesting that their bursts of star formation may be linked. Combining the SFHs and H δA results with recent galaxy merger simulations, we infer that these galaxies have recently completed their first pericentric passage andmore »are moving apart. Finally, the relatively low second velocity moment of GOODS-S 43114, given its stellar mass suggests a disc-like structure. However, including the geometry of the galaxy in the modelling does not completely resolve the discrepancy between the dynamical and stellar masses. Future work is needed to resolve this inconsistency in mass.

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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  6. 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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  7. ABSTRACT

    We analyse the completeness of the MOSDEF survey, in which z ∼ 2 galaxies were selected for rest-optical spectroscopy from well-studied HST extragalactic legacy fields down to a fixed rest-optical magnitude limit (HAB = 24.5). The subset of z ∼ 2 MOSDEF galaxies with high signal-to-noise (S/N) emission-line detections analysed in previous work represents a small minority (<10 per cent) of possible z ∼ 2 MOSDEF targets. It is therefore crucial to understand how representative this high S/N subsample is, while also more fully exploiting the MOSDEF spectroscopic sample. Using spectral-energy distribution (SED) models and rest-optical spectral stacking, we compare the MOSDEF z ∼ 2 high S/N subsample with the full MOSDEF sample of z ∼ 2 star-forming galaxies with redshifts, the latter representing an increase in sample size of more than a factor of three. We find that both samples have similar emission-line properties, in particular in terms of the magnitude of the offset from the local star-forming sequence on the [N ii] BPT diagram. There are small differences in median host galaxy properties, including the stellar mass (M*), star formation rate (SFR) and specific SFR (sSFR), and UVJ colours; however, these offsets are minor considering the wide spread of themore »distributions. Using SED modelling, we also demonstrate that the sample of z ∼ 2 star-forming galaxies observed by the MOSDEF survey is representative of the parent catalog of available such targets. We conclude that previous MOSDEF results on the evolution of star-forming galaxy emission-line properties were unbiased relative to the parent z ∼ 2 galaxy population.

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  8. Abstract We perform joint modeling of the composite rest-frame far-UV and optical spectra of redshift 1.85 ≤ z ≤ 3.49 star-forming galaxies to deduce key properties of the massive stars, ionized interstellar medium (ISM), and neutral ISM, with the aim of investigating the principal factors affecting the production and escape of Ly α photons. Our sample consists of 136 galaxies with deep Keck/LRIS and MOSFIRE spectra covering, respectively, Ly β through C iii ] λλ 1907, 1909 and [O ii ], [Ne iii ], H β , [O iii ], H α , [N ii ], and [S ii ]. Spectral and photoionization modeling indicates that the galaxies are uniformly consistent with stellar population synthesis models that include the effects of stellar binarity. Over the dynamic range of our sample, there is little variation in stellar and nebular abundance with Ly α equivalent width, W λ (Ly α ), and only a marginal anticorrelation between age and W λ (Ly α ). The inferred range of ionizing spectral shapes is insufficient to solely account for the variation in W λ (Ly α ); rather, the covering fraction of optically thick H i appears to be the principal factor modulating themore »escape of Ly α , with most of the Ly α photons in down-the-barrel observations of galaxies escaping through low column density or ionized channels in the ISM. Our analysis shows that a high star-formation-rate surface density, Σ SFR , particularly when coupled with a low galaxy potential (i.e., low stellar mass), can aid in reducing the covering fraction and ease the escape of Ly α photons. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our results for the escape of ionizing radiation at high redshift.« less
  9. ABSTRACT

    We present specific star formation rates (sSFRs) for 40 ultraviolet (UV)-bright galaxies at z ∼ 7–8 observed as part of the Reionization Era Bright Emission Line Survey (REBELS) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) large programme. The sSFRs are derived using improved star formation rate (SFR) calibrations and spectral energy distribution (SED)-based stellar masses, made possible by measurements of far-infrared (FIR) continuum emission and [C ii]-based spectroscopic redshifts. The median sSFR of the sample is $18_{-5}^{+7}$ Gyr−1, significantly larger than literature measurements lacking constraints in the FIR, reflecting the larger obscured SFRs derived from the dust continuum relative to that implied by the UV+optical SED. We suggest that such differences may reflect spatial variations in dust across these luminous galaxies, with the component dominating the FIR distinct from that dominating the UV. We demonstrate that the inferred stellar masses (and hence sSFRs) are strongly dependent on the assumed star formation history in reionization-era galaxies. When large sSFR galaxies (a population that is common at z > 6) are modelled with non-parametric star formation histories, the derived stellar masses can increase by an order of magnitude relative to constant star formation models, owing to the presence of a significant old stellar population thatmore »is outshined by the recent burst. The [C ii] line widths in the largest sSFR systems are often very broad, suggesting dynamical masses capable of accommodating an old stellar population suggested by non-parametric models. Regardless of these systematic uncertainties among derived parameters, we find that sSFRs increase rapidly toward higher redshifts for massive galaxies (9.6 < log (M*/M⊙) < 9.8), evolving as (1 + z)1.7 ± 0.3, broadly consistent with expectations from the evolving baryon accretion rates.

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