skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: How dead are dead galaxies? Mid-infrared fluxes of quiescent galaxies at redshift 0.3 < z < 2.5: implications for star formation rates and dust heating

We investigate star formation rates (SFRs) of quiescent galaxies at high redshift (0.3 < z < 2.5) using 3D-HST WFC3 grism spectroscopy and Spitzer mid-infrared data. We select quiescent galaxies on the basis of the widely used UVJ color-color criteria. Spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting (rest-frame optical and near-IR) indicates very low SFRs for quiescent galaxies (sSFR ∼ 10{sup –12} yr{sup –1}). However, SED fitting can miss star formation if it is hidden behind high dust obscuration and ionizing radiation is re-emitted in the mid-infrared. It is therefore fundamental to measure the dust-obscured SFRs with a mid-IR indicator. We stack the MIPS 24 μm images of quiescent objects in five redshift bins centered on z = 0.5, 0.9, 1.2, 1.7, 2.2 and perform aperture photometry. Including direct 24 μm detections, we find sSFR ∼ 10{sup –11.9} × (1 + z){sup 4} yr{sup –1}. These values are higher than those indicated by SED fitting, but at each redshift they are 20-40 times lower than those of typical star-forming galaxies. The true SFRs of quiescent galaxies might be even lower, as we show that the mid-IR fluxes can be due to processes unrelated to ongoing star formation, such as cirrus dust heatedmore » by old stellar populations and circumstellar dust. Our measurements show that star formation quenching is very efficient at every redshift. The measured SFR values are at z > 1.5 marginally consistent with the ones expected from gas recycling (assuming that mass loss from evolved stars refuels star formation) and well below that at lower redshifts.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ; ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ; ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12]
  1. Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden (Netherlands)
  2. Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States)
  3. European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19001, Vitacura, Santiago (Chile)
  4. Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Konigstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)
  5. Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, D-85748 Garching (Germany)
  6. Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
  7. Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Pasadena, CA 91101 (United States)
  8. Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706 (United States)
  9. Astrophysics Science Division, Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 665, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  10. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155 (United States)
  11. Yonsei University Observatory, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749 (Korea, Republic of)
  12. South African Astronomical Observatory, Observatory Road, Cape Town (South Africa)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22369992
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; 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; APERTURES; COLOR; DUSTS; ENERGY SPECTRA; GALAXIES; IMAGES; MASS TRANSFER; PHOTOMETRY; QUENCHING; RED SHIFT; SPECTROSCOPY; STARS; STELLAR WINDS