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  1. Abstract

    The SPT 0311–58 system atz= 6.900 is an extremely massive structure within the reionization epoch and offers a chance to understand the formation of galaxies at an extreme peak in the primordial density field. We present 70 mas Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of the dust continuum and [Cii] 158μm emission in the central pair of galaxies and reach physical resolutions of ∼100–350 pc, among the most detailed views of any reionization-era system to date. The observations resolve the source into at least a dozen kiloparsec-size clumps. The global kinematics and high turbulent velocity dispersion within the galaxies present a striking contrast to recent claims of dynamically cold thin-disk kinematics in some dusty galaxies just 800 Myr later atz∼ 4. We speculate that both gravitational interactions and fragmentation from massive parent disks have likely played a role in the overall dynamics and formation of clumps in the system. Each clump individually is comparable in mass to other 6 <z< 8 galaxies identified in rest-UV/optical deep field surveys, but with star formation rates elevated by a factor of ~3-5. Internally, the clumps themselves bear close resemblance to greatly scaled-up versions of virialized cloud-scale structures identified in low-redshift galaxies. Our observationsmore »are qualitatively similar to the chaotic and clumpy assembly within massive halos seen in simulations of high-redshift galaxies.

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  2. Abstract

    The Baldwin, Philips, & Terlevich diagram of [Oiii]/Hβversus [Nii]/Hα(hereafter N2-BPT) has long been used as a tool for classifying galaxies based on the dominant source of ionizing radiation. Recent observations have demonstrated that galaxies atz∼ 2 reside offset from local galaxies in the N2-BPT space. In this paper, we conduct a series of controlled numerical experiments to understand the potential physical processes driving this offset. We model nebular line emission in a large sample of galaxies, taken from thesimbacosmological hydrodynamic galaxy formation simulation, using thecloudyphotoionization code to compute the nebular line luminosities from Hiiregions. We find that the observed shift toward higher [Oiii]/Hβand [Nii]/Hαvalues at high redshift arises from sample selection: when we consider only the most massive galaxiesM*∼ 1010–11M, the offset naturally appears, due to their high metallicities. We predict that deeper observations that probe lower-mass galaxies will reveal galaxies that lie on a locus comparable toz∼ 0 observations. Even when accounting for samples-selection effects, we find that there is a subtle mismatch between simulations and observations. To resolve this discrepancy, we investigate the impact of varying ionization parameters, Hiiregion densities, gas-phase abundance patterns, and increasing radiation field hardness on N2-BPT diagrams. We find that either decreasing themore »ionization parameter or increasing the N/O ratio of galaxies at fixed O/H can move galaxies along a self-similar arc in N2-BPT space that is occupied by high-redshift galaxies.

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  3. Abstract One of the most common methods for inferring galaxy attenuation curves is via spectral energy distribution (SED) modeling, where the dust attenuation properties are modeled simultaneously with other galaxy physical properties. In this paper, we assess the ability of SED modeling to infer these dust attenuation curves from broadband photometry, and suggest a new flexible model that greatly improves the accuracy of attenuation curve derivations. To do this, we fit mock SEDs generated from the simba cosmological simulation with the prospector SED fitting code. We consider the impact of the commonly assumed uniform screen model and introduce a new nonuniform screen model parameterized by the fraction of unobscured stellar light. This nonuniform screen model allows for a nonzero fraction of stellar light to remain unattenuated, resulting in a more flexible attenuation curve shape by decoupling the shape of the UV attenuation curve from the optical attenuation curve. The ability to constrain the dust attenuation curve is significantly improved with the use of a nonuniform screen model, with the median offset in UV attenuation decreasing from −0.30 dex with a uniform screen model to −0.17 dex with the nonuniform screen model. With this increase in dust attenuation modeling accuracy, wemore »also improve the star formation rates (SFRs) inferred with the nonuniform screen model, decreasing the SFR offset on average by 0.12 dex. We discuss the efficacy of this new model, focusing on caveats with modeling star-dust geometries and the constraining power of available SED observations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We investigate the fine-structure [C ii ] line at 158 μ m as a molecular gas tracer by analyzing the relationship between molecular gas mass ( M mol ) and [C ii ] line luminosity ( L [C II ] ) in 11,125 z ≃ 6 star-forming, main-sequence galaxies from the simba simulations, with line emission modeled by the Simulator of Galaxy Millimeter/Submillimeter Emission. Though most (∼50%–100%) of the gas mass in our simulations is ionized, the bulk (>50%) of the [C ii ] emission comes from the molecular phase. We find a sublinear (slope 0.78 ± 0.01) log L [ C II ] – log M mol relation, in contrast with the linear relation derived from observational samples of more massive, metal-rich galaxies at z ≲ 6. We derive a median [C ii ]-to- M mol conversion factor of α [C II ] ≃ 18 M ⊙ / L ⊙ . This is lower than the average value of ≃30 M ⊙ / L ⊙ derived from observations, which we attribute to lower gas-phase metallicities in our simulations. Thus, a lower, luminosity-dependent conversion factor must be applied when inferring molecular gas masses from [C ii ] observations ofmore »low-mass galaxies. For our simulations, [C ii ] is a better tracer of the molecular gas than CO J = 1–0, especially at the lowest metallicities, where much of the gas is CO-dark . We find that L [C II ] is more tightly correlated with M mol than with star formation rate (SFR), and both the log L [ C II ] – log M mol and log L [ C II ] – log SFR relations arise from the Kennicutt–Schmidt relation. Our findings suggest that L [C II ] is a promising tracer of the molecular gas at the earliest cosmic epochs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. 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
  6. Abstract Observations of cold molecular gas reservoirs are critical for understanding the shutdown of star formation in massive galaxies. While dust continuum is an efficient and affordable tracer, this method relies upon the assumption of a “normal” molecular-gas to dust mass ratio, δ GDR , typically of order 100. Recent null detections of quiescent galaxies in deep dust continuum observations support a picture where the cold gas and dust have been rapidly depleted or expelled. In this work, we present another viable explanation: a significant fraction of galaxies with low star formation per unit stellar mass are predicted to have extreme δ GDR ratios. We show that simulated massive quiescent galaxies at 0 < z < 3 in the simba cosmological simulations have δ GDR values that extend >4 orders of magnitude. The dust in most simulated quiescent galaxies is destroyed significantly more rapidly than the molecular gas depletes, and cannot be replenished. The transition from star-forming to quiescent halts dust formation via star formation processes, with dust subsequently destroyed by supernova shocks and thermal sputtering of dust grains embedded in hot plasma. After this point, the dust growth rate in the models is not sufficient to overcome the lossmore »of >3 orders of magnitude in dust mass to return to normal values of δ GDR despite having high metallicity. Our results indicate that it is not straight forward to use a single observational indicator to robustly preselect exotic versus normal ratios. These simulations make strong predictions that can be tested with millimeter facilities.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We develop a cosmological model for the evolution of dust grains in galaxies with a distribution of sizes in order to understand the origin of the Milky Way dust extinction curve. Our model considers the formation of active dust in evolved stars, growth by accretion and coagulation, and destruction processes via shattering, sputtering, and astration in the ISM of galaxies over cosmic time. Our main results follow. Galaxies in our cosmological model with masses comparable to the Milky Way’s at z ∼ 0 exhibit a diverse range of extinction laws, though with slopes and bump strengths comparable to the range observed in the Galaxy. The progenitors of the Milky Way have steeper slopes, and only flatten to slopes comparable to the Galaxy at z ∼ 1. This owes to increased grain growth rates at late times/in high-metallicity environments driving up the ratio of large to small grains, with a secondary dependence on the graphite-to-silicate ratio evolution. The UV bump strengths depend primarily on the graphite-to-silicate ratio, and remain broadly constant in MW-like galaxies between z = 3 and z = 0, though show slight variability. Our models span comparable regions of bump-slope space as sightlines in the Galaxy do, though theremore »is a lack of clear relationship between the model slopes and bump strengths owing to variations among galaxies in the graphite-to-silicate ratio. Our model provides a novel framework to study the origins and variations of dust extinction curves in galaxies over cosmic time.« less
  8. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The relation between infrared excess (IRX) and UV spectral slope (βUV) is an empirical probe of dust properties of galaxies. The shape, scatter, and redshift evolution of this relation are not well understood, however, leading to uncertainties in estimating the dust content and star formation rates (SFRs) of galaxies at high redshift. In this study, we explore the nature and properties of the IRX–βUV relation with a sample of z = 2–6 galaxies ($M_*\approx 10^9\!-\!10^{12}\, \mathrm{M}_\odot$) extracted from high-resolution cosmological simulations (MassiveFIRE) of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. The galaxies in our sample show an IRX–βUV relation that is in good agreement with the observed relation in nearby galaxies. IRX is tightly coupled to the UV optical depth, and is mainly determined by the dust-to-star geometry instead of total dust mass, while βUV is set both by stellar properties, UV optical depth, and the dust extinction law. Overall, much of the scatter in the IRX–βUV relation of our sample is found to be driven by variations of the intrinsic UV spectral slope. We further assess how the IRX–βUV relation depends on viewing direction, dust-to-metal ratio, birth-cloud structures, and the dust extinction law and we present a simplemore »model that encapsulates most of the found dependencies. Consequently, we argue that the reported ‘deficit’ of the infrared/sub-millimetre bright objects at z ≳ 5 does not necessarily imply a non-standard dust extinction law at those epochs.« less
  9. ABSTRACT Matching the number counts of high-z submillimetre-selected galaxies (SMGs) has been a long-standing problem for galaxy formation models. In this paper, we use 3D dust radiative transfer to model the submm emission from galaxies in the simba cosmological hydrodynamic simulations, and compare predictions to the latest single-dish observational constraints on the abundance of 850 μm-selected sources. We find good agreement with the shape of the integrated 850 μm luminosity function, and the normalization is within 0.25 dex at >3 mJy, unprecedented for a fully cosmological hydrodynamic simulation, along with good agreement in the redshift distribution of bright SMGs. The agreement is driven primarily by simba’s good match to infrared measures of the star formation rate (SFR) function between z = 2 and 4 at high SFRs. Also important is the self-consistent on-the-fly dust model in simba, which predicts, on average, higher dust masses (by up to a factor of 2.5) compared to using a fixed dust-to-metals ratio of 0.3. We construct a light-cone to investigate the effect of far-field blending, and find that 52 per cent of sources are blends of multiple components, which makes a small contribution to the normalization of the bright end of the number counts. We provide new fits to the 850 μm luminosity asmore »a function of SFR and dust mass. Our results demonstrate that solutions to the discrepancy between submm counts in simulations and observations, such as a top-heavy initial mass function, are unnecessary, and that submillimetre-bright phases are a natural consequence of massive galaxy evolution.« less
  10. null (Ed.)