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Title: Slow evolution of the specific star formation rate at z > 2: the impact of dust, emission lines, and a rising star formation history

We measure the evolution of the specific star formation rate (sSFR = SFR/M {sub stellar}) between redshift 4 and 6 to assess the reported 'constant' sSFR at z > 2. We derive stellar masses and star formation rates (SFRs) for a large sample of 750 z ∼ 4-6 galaxies in the GOODS-S field by fitting stellar population models to their spectral energy distributions. Dust extinction is derived from the observed UV colors. We evaluate different star formation histories (SFHs, constant and rising with time) and the impact of optical emission lines. The SFR and M {sub stellar} values are insensitive to whether the SFH is constant or rising. The derived sSFR is very similar (within 0.1 dex) in two M {sub stellar} bins centered at 1 and 5 × 10{sup 9} M {sub ☉}. The effect of emission lines was, however, quite pronounced. Assuming no contribution from emission lines, the sSFR for galaxies at 5 × 10{sup 9} M {sub ☉} evolves weakly at z > 2 (sSFR(z)∝(1 + z){sup 0.6} {sup ±} {sup 0.1}), consistent with previous results. When emission lines are included in the rest-frame optical bands, consistent with the observed Infrared Array Camera [3.6] and [4.5] fluxes,more » the sSFR shows higher values at high redshift following sSFR(z)∝(1 + z){sup 1.0} {sup ±} {sup 0.1}, i.e., the best-fit evolution shows a sSFR ∼2.3 × higher at z ∼ 6 than at z ∼ 2. This is, however, a substantially weaker trend than that found at z < 2 and even than that expected from current models for z > 2 (sSFR(z)∝(1 + z){sup 2.5}). Even accounting for emission lines, the observed sSFR(z) trends at z > 2 are still in tension with theoretical expectations.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Astronomy Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  2. Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, NL-2300 RA Leiden (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348157
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 781; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COLOR; DUSTS; EMISSION; ENERGY SPECTRA; GALAXIES; MASS; RED SHIFT; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS