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  1. ABSTRACT

    We report on the discovery of cool gas inflows towards three star-forming galaxies at <z> ∼ 2.30. Analysis of Keck Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer spectroscopy reveals redshifted low-ionization interstellar (LIS) metal absorption lines with centroid velocities of 60–130 km s−1. These inflows represent some of the most robust detections of inflowing gas into isolated, star-forming galaxies at high redshift. Our analysis suggests that the inflows are due to recycling metal-enriched gas from previous ejections. Comparisons between the galaxies with inflows and a larger parent sample of 131 objects indicate that galaxies with detected inflows may have higher specific star formation rates (sSFRs) and star-formation-rate surface densities (ΣSFR). However, when additional galaxies without robustly detected inflows based on centroid velocity but whose LIS absorption line profiles indicate large red-wing velocities are considered, galaxies with inflows do not show unique properties relative to those lacking inflows. Additionally, we calculate the covering fraction of cool inflowing gas as a function of red-wing inflow velocity, finding an enhancement in high-sSFR binned galaxies, likely due to an increase in the amount of recycling gas. Together, these results suggest that the low detection rate of galaxies with cool inflows is primarily related to the viewing angle rather than the physical properties of the galaxies.

     
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  2. 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 increase 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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  3. 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 and 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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  4. ABSTRACT

    We investigate the conditions that facilitate galactic-scale outflows using a sample of 155 typical star-forming galaxies at z ∼ 2 drawn from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey. The sample includes deep rest-frame UV spectroscopy from the Keck Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS), which provides spectral coverage of several low-ionization interstellar (LIS) metal absorption lines and Lyα emission. Outflow velocities are calculated from the centroids of the LIS absorption and/or Lyα emission, as well as the highest velocity component of the outflow from the blue wings of the LIS absorption lines. Outflow velocities are found to be marginally correlated or independent of galaxy properties, such as star-formation rate (SFR) and star-formation rate surface density (ΣSFR). Outflow velocity scales with SFR as a power-law with index 0.24, which suggests that the outflows may be primarily driven by mechanical energy generated by supernovae explosions, as opposed to radiation pressure acting on dusty material. On the other hand, outflow velocity and ΣSFR are not significantly correlated, which may be due to the limited dynamic range of ΣSFR probed by our sample. The relationship between outflow velocity and ΣSFR normalized by stellar mass (ΣsSFR), as a proxy for gravitational potential, suggests that strong outflows (e.g. > 200 km s−1) become common above a threshold of log(ΣsSFR/$\rm {yr}^{-1}\ \rm {kpc}^{-2}$) ∼ −11.3, and that above this threshold, outflow velocity uncouples from ΣsSFR. These results highlight the need for higher resolution spectroscopic data and spatially resolved imaging to test the driving mechanisms of outflows predicted by theory.

     
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  5. ABSTRACT

    We present new spectroscopic observations of Ly α (Ly α) Blob 2 (z ∼ 3.1). We observed extended Ly α emission in three distinct regions, where the highest Ly α surface brightness (SB) centre is far away from the known continuum sources. We searched through the MOSFIRE slits that cover the high Ly α SB regions, but were unable to detect any significant nebular emission near the highest SB centre. We further mapped the flux ratio of the blue peak to the red peak and found it is anticorrelated with Ly α SB with a power-law index of ∼ –0.4. We used radiative transfer models with both multiphase, clumpy, and shell geometries and successfully reproduced the diverse Ly α morphologies. We found that most spectra suggest outflow-dominated kinematics, while 4/15 spectra imply inflows. A significant correlation exists between parameter pairs, and the multiphase, clumpy model may alleviate previously reported discrepancies. We also modelled Ly α spectra at different positions simultaneously and found that the variation of the inferred clump outflow velocities can be approximately explained by line-of-sight projection effects. Our results support the ‘central powering  + scattering’ scenario, i.e. the Ly α photons are generated by a central powering source and then scatter with outflowing, multiphase H  i gas while propagating outwards. The infalling of cool gas near the blob outskirts shapes the observed blue-dominated Ly α profiles, but its energy contribution to the total Ly α luminosity is less than 10 per cent, i.e. minor compared to the photoionization by star-forming galaxies and/or AGNs.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    The combination of the MOSDEF and KBSS-MOSFIRE surveys represents the largest joint investment of Keck/MOSFIRE time to date, with ∼3000 galaxies at 1.4 ≲ z ≲ 3.8, roughly half of which are at z ∼ 2. MOSDEF is photometric- and spectroscopic-redshift selected with a rest-optical magnitude limit, while KBSS-MOSFIRE is primarily selected based on rest-UV colours and a rest-UV magnitude limit. Analysing both surveys in a uniform manner with consistent spectral-energy-distribution (SED) models, we find that the MOSDEF z ∼ 2 targeted sample has higher median M* and redder rest U−V colour than the KBSS-MOSFIRE z ∼ 2 targeted sample, and smaller median SED-based SFR and sSFR (SFR(SED) and sSFR(SED)). Specifically, MOSDEF targeted a larger population of red galaxies with U−V and V−J ≥1.25, while KBSS-MOSFIRE contains more young galaxies with intense star formation. Despite these differences in the z ∼ 2 targeted samples, the subsets of the surveys with multiple emission lines detected and analysed in previous work are much more similar. All median host-galaxy properties with the exception of stellar population age – i.e. M*, SFR(SED), sSFR(SED), AV, and UVJ colours – agree within the uncertainties. Additionally, when uniform emission-line fitting and stellar Balmer absorption correction techniques are applied, there is no significant offset between both samples in the [O iii]λ5008/H β versus [N ii]λ6585/H α diagnostic diagram, in contrast to previously reported discrepancies. We can now combine the MOSDEF and KBSS-MOSFIRE surveys to form the largest z ∼ 2 sample with moderate-resolution rest-optical spectra and construct the fundamental scaling relations of star-forming galaxies during this important epoch.

     
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  7. 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 the 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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  8. Abstract

    We investigate the relationship between dust attenuation and stellar mass (M*) in star-forming galaxies over cosmic time. For this analysis, we compare measurements from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field survey atz∼ 2.3 and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) atz∼ 0, augmenting the latter optical data set with both UV Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and mid-infrared Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) photometry from the GALEX-SDSS-WISE Catalog. We quantify dust attenuation using both spectroscopic measurements of Hαand Hβemission lines, and photometric measurements of the rest-UV stellar continuum. The Hα/Hβratio is used to determine the magnitude of attenuation at the wavelength of Hα,AHα. Rest-UV colors and spectral energy distribution fitting are used to estimateA1600, the magnitude of attenuation at a rest wavelength of 1600 Å. As in previous work, we find a lack of significant evolution in the relation between dust attenuation andM*over the redshift rangez∼ 0 toz∼ 2.3. Folding in the latest estimates of the evolution ofMdust, (Mdust/Mgas), and gas surface density at fixedM*, we find that the expectedMdustand dust mass surface density are both significantly higher atz∼ 2.3 than atz∼ 0. These differences appear at odds with the lack of evolution in dust attenuation. To explain the striking constancy in attenuation versusM*, it is essential to determine the relationship between metallicity and (Mdust/Mgas), the dust mass absorption coefficient and dust geometry, and the evolution of these relations and quantities fromz∼ 0 toz∼ 2.3.

     
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  9. Aims. We aim to quantify the relation between the dust-to-gas mass ratio (DTG) and gas-phase metallicity of z  = 2.1 − 2.5 luminous galaxies and contrast this high-redshift relation against analogous constraints at z  = 0. Methods. We present a sample of ten star-forming main-sequence galaxies in the redshift range 2.1 <  z  < 2.5 with rest-optical emission-line information available from the MOSDEF survey and with ALMA 1.2 millimetre and CO J  = 3 − 2 follow-up observations. The galaxies have stellar masses ranging from 10 10.3 to 10 10.6   M ⊙ and cover a range in star-formation rate from 35 to 145 M ⊙ yr −1 . We calculated the gas-phase oxygen abundance of these galaxies from rest-optical nebular emission lines (8.4 < 12 + log(O/H) < 8.8, corresponding to 0.5−1.25 Z ⊙ ). We estimated the dust and H 2 masses of the galaxies (using a metallicity-dependent CO-to-H 2 conversion factor) from the 1.2 mm and CO J  = 3 − 2 observations, respectively, from which we estimated a DTG. Results. We find that the galaxies in this sample follow the trends already observed between CO line luminosity and dust-continuum luminosity from z  = 0 to z  = 3, extending such trends to fainter galaxies at 2.1 <  z  < 2.5 than observed to date. We find no second-order metallicity dependence in the CO – dust-continuum luminosity relation for the galaxies presented in this work. The DTGs of main-sequence galaxies at 2.1 <  z  < 2.5 are consistent with an increase in the DTG with gas-phase metallicity. The metallicity dependence of the DTG is driven by the metallicity dependence of the CO-to-H 2 conversion factor. Galaxies at z  = 2.1 − 2.5 are furthermore consistent with the DTG-metallicity relation found at z  = 0 (i.e. with no significant evolution), providing relevant constraints for galaxy formation models. These results furthermore imply that the metallicity of galaxies should be taken into account when estimating cold-gas masses from dust-continuum emission, which is especially relevant when studying metal-poor low-mass or high-redshift galaxies. 
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  10. Abstract We present observations of CO(3−2) in 13 main-sequence z = 2.0–2.5 star-forming galaxies at log ( M * / M ⊙ ) = 10.2 – 10.6 that span a wide range in metallicity (O/H) based on rest-optical spectroscopy. We find that L CO ( 3 − 2 ) ′ /SFR decreases with decreasing metallicity, implying that the CO luminosity per unit gas mass is lower in low-metallicity galaxies at z ∼ 2. We constrain the CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) and find that α CO inversely correlates with metallicity at z ∼ 2. We derive molecular gas masses ( M mol ) and characterize the relations among M * , SFR, M mol , and metallicity. At z ∼ 2, M mol increases and the molecular gas fraction ( M mol / M * ) decreases with increasing M * , with a significant secondary dependence on SFR. Galaxies at z ∼ 2 lie on a near-linear molecular KS law that is well-described by a constant depletion time of 700 Myr. We find that the scatter about the mean SFR− M * , O/H− M * , and M mol − M * relations is correlated such that, at fixed M * , z ∼ 2 galaxies with larger M mol have higher SFR and lower O/H. We thus confirm the existence of a fundamental metallicity relation at z ∼ 2, where O/H is inversely correlated with both SFR and M mol at fixed M * . These results suggest that the scatter of the z ∼ 2 star-forming main sequence, mass–metallicity relation, and M mol – M * relation are primarily driven by stochastic variations in gas inflow rates. We place constraints on the mass loading of galactic outflows and perform a metal budget analysis, finding that massive z ∼ 2 star-forming galaxies retain only 30% of metals produced, implying that a large mass of metals resides in the circumgalactic medium. 
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