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Title: The MOSDEF Survey: Stellar Continuum Spectra and Star Formation Histories of Active, Transitional, and Quiescent Galaxies at 1.4 < z < 2.6

Abstract

Using the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) rest-frame optical spectroscopic survey, we report on the star formation histories (SFHs) of different galaxy types, ranging from actively star-forming to quiescent at 1.4 ≤ z ≤ 2.6. SFHs are constrained utilizing stellar continuum spectroscopy, specifically through a combination of Balmer absorption lines, the 4000 Å break, and the equivalent width of the Hα emission line. To gain a sufficiently high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) to conduct these measurements we stack spectra of galaxies with similar spectral types, as determined from their rest-frame U – V and V – J colors. We bin the MOSDEF sample into five spectral types, subdividing the quiescent and star-forming bins to better explore galaxies transitioning between the two. We constrain the average SFHs for each type, finding that quiescent and transitional galaxies in the MOSDEF sample are dominated by an SFH with an average star formation timescale of τ ~ 0.1–0.2 Gyr. These results contrast with measurements from the low-redshift Universe where, on average, galaxies form their stars over a more extended time period (τ > 1 Gyr). Moreover, our spectral index measurements correlate with mass surface density for all spectral types. Finally, we compare the average propertiesmore » of the galaxies in our transitional bins to investigate possible paths to quiescence, and speculate on the viability of a dusty post-starburst phase.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [8]; ORCiD logo [7];  [4]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [10]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  4. Univ. of California, Riverside, CA (United States)
  5. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
  6. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  7. Univ. of the Pacific, Stockton, CA (United States)
  8. The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH (United States)
  9. Max Planck Inst. fur Extraterrestrische Physik, Garching (Germany)
  10. Steward Observatory, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1545289
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 867; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
galaxies: evolution; galaxies: high-redshift

Citation Formats

Zick, Tom O., Kriek, Mariska, Shapley, Alice E., Reddy, Naveen A., Freeman, William R., Siana, Brian, Coil, Alison L., Azadi, Mojegan, Barro, Guillermo, Fetherolf, Tara, Fornasini, Francesca M., de Groot, Laura, Leung, Gene, Mobasher, Bahram, Price, Sedona H., Sanders, Ryan L., and Shivaei, Irene. The MOSDEF Survey: Stellar Continuum Spectra and Star Formation Histories of Active, Transitional, and Quiescent Galaxies at 1.4 < z < 2.6. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aae887.
Zick, Tom O., Kriek, Mariska, Shapley, Alice E., Reddy, Naveen A., Freeman, William R., Siana, Brian, Coil, Alison L., Azadi, Mojegan, Barro, Guillermo, Fetherolf, Tara, Fornasini, Francesca M., de Groot, Laura, Leung, Gene, Mobasher, Bahram, Price, Sedona H., Sanders, Ryan L., & Shivaei, Irene. The MOSDEF Survey: Stellar Continuum Spectra and Star Formation Histories of Active, Transitional, and Quiescent Galaxies at 1.4 < z < 2.6. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aae887.
Zick, Tom O., Kriek, Mariska, Shapley, Alice E., Reddy, Naveen A., Freeman, William R., Siana, Brian, Coil, Alison L., Azadi, Mojegan, Barro, Guillermo, Fetherolf, Tara, Fornasini, Francesca M., de Groot, Laura, Leung, Gene, Mobasher, Bahram, Price, Sedona H., Sanders, Ryan L., and Shivaei, Irene. Tue . "The MOSDEF Survey: Stellar Continuum Spectra and Star Formation Histories of Active, Transitional, and Quiescent Galaxies at 1.4 < z < 2.6". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aae887. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1545289.
@article{osti_1545289,
title = {The MOSDEF Survey: Stellar Continuum Spectra and Star Formation Histories of Active, Transitional, and Quiescent Galaxies at 1.4 < z < 2.6},
author = {Zick, Tom O. and Kriek, Mariska and Shapley, Alice E. and Reddy, Naveen A. and Freeman, William R. and Siana, Brian and Coil, Alison L. and Azadi, Mojegan and Barro, Guillermo and Fetherolf, Tara and Fornasini, Francesca M. and de Groot, Laura and Leung, Gene and Mobasher, Bahram and Price, Sedona H. and Sanders, Ryan L. and Shivaei, Irene},
abstractNote = {Using the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) rest-frame optical spectroscopic survey, we report on the star formation histories (SFHs) of different galaxy types, ranging from actively star-forming to quiescent at 1.4 ≤ z ≤ 2.6. SFHs are constrained utilizing stellar continuum spectroscopy, specifically through a combination of Balmer absorption lines, the 4000 Å break, and the equivalent width of the Hα emission line. To gain a sufficiently high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) to conduct these measurements we stack spectra of galaxies with similar spectral types, as determined from their rest-frame U – V and V – J colors. We bin the MOSDEF sample into five spectral types, subdividing the quiescent and star-forming bins to better explore galaxies transitioning between the two. We constrain the average SFHs for each type, finding that quiescent and transitional galaxies in the MOSDEF sample are dominated by an SFH with an average star formation timescale of τ ~ 0.1–0.2 Gyr. These results contrast with measurements from the low-redshift Universe where, on average, galaxies form their stars over a more extended time period (τ > 1 Gyr). Moreover, our spectral index measurements correlate with mass surface density for all spectral types. Finally, we compare the average properties of the galaxies in our transitional bins to investigate possible paths to quiescence, and speculate on the viability of a dusty post-starburst phase.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/aae887},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 867,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

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