FIGS

Spectral fitting constraints on the star formation history of massive galaxies since the cosmic noon

Ignacio Ferreras, Anna Pasquali, Nor Pirzkal, John Pharo, Sangeeta Malhotra, James Rhoads, Nimish Hathi, Rogier Windhorst, Andrea Cimatti, Lise Christensen, Steven L. Finkelstein, Norman Grogin, Bhavin Joshi, Keunho Kim, Anton Koekemoer, Robert O'Connell, Göran Östlin, Barry Rothberg, Russell Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We constrain the stellar population properties of a sample of 52 massive galaxies-with stellar mass log (Ms/Mâ™) ≳10.5-over the redshift range 0.5 < z < 2 by use of observer-frame optical and near-infrared slitless spectra from Hubble Space Telescope's ACS and WFC3 grisms. The deep exposures (∼100 ks) allow us to target individual spectra of massive galaxies to F160W = 22.5 AB. Our spectral fitting approach uses a set of six base models adapted to the redshift and spectral resolution of each observation, and fits the weights of the base models, including potential dust attenuation, via a Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. Our sample comprises a mixed distribution of quiescent (19) and star-forming galaxies (33). We quantify the width of the age distribution (Δt) that is found to dominate the variance of the retrieved parameters according to principal component analysis. The population parameters follow the expected trend towards older ages with increasing mass, and Δt appears to weakly anticorrelate with stellar mass, suggesting a more efficient star formation at the massive end. As expected, the redshift dependence of the relative stellar age (measured in units of the age of the Universe at the source) in the quiescent sample rejects the hypothesis of a single burst (aka monolithic collapse). Radial colour gradients within each galaxy are also explored, finding a wider scatter in the star-forming subsample, but no conclusive trend with respect to the population parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1358-1376
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume486
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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noon
star formation
histories
galaxies
history
stellar mass
Markov chain
spectral resolution
trends
stars
age structure
Markov chains
principal component analysis
near infrared
principal components analysis
Hubble Space Telescope
dust
Monte Carlo method
bursts
infrared spectra

Keywords

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: stellar content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

FIGS : Spectral fitting constraints on the star formation history of massive galaxies since the cosmic noon. / Ferreras, Ignacio; Pasquali, Anna; Pirzkal, Nor; Pharo, John; Malhotra, Sangeeta; Rhoads, James; Hathi, Nimish; Windhorst, Rogier; Cimatti, Andrea; Christensen, Lise; Finkelstein, Steven L.; Grogin, Norman; Joshi, Bhavin; Kim, Keunho; Koekemoer, Anton; O'Connell, Robert; Östlin, Göran; Rothberg, Barry; Ryan, Russell.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 486, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 1358-1376.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ferreras, I, Pasquali, A, Pirzkal, N, Pharo, J, Malhotra, S, Rhoads, J, Hathi, N, Windhorst, R, Cimatti, A, Christensen, L, Finkelstein, SL, Grogin, N, Joshi, B, Kim, K, Koekemoer, A, O'Connell, R, Östlin, G, Rothberg, B & Ryan, R 2019, 'FIGS: Spectral fitting constraints on the star formation history of massive galaxies since the cosmic noon', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 486, no. 1, pp. 1358-1376. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz849
Ferreras, Ignacio ; Pasquali, Anna ; Pirzkal, Nor ; Pharo, John ; Malhotra, Sangeeta ; Rhoads, James ; Hathi, Nimish ; Windhorst, Rogier ; Cimatti, Andrea ; Christensen, Lise ; Finkelstein, Steven L. ; Grogin, Norman ; Joshi, Bhavin ; Kim, Keunho ; Koekemoer, Anton ; O'Connell, Robert ; Östlin, Göran ; Rothberg, Barry ; Ryan, Russell. / FIGS : Spectral fitting constraints on the star formation history of massive galaxies since the cosmic noon. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 2019 ; Vol. 486, No. 1. pp. 1358-1376.
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AU - Pharo, John

AU - Malhotra, Sangeeta

AU - Rhoads, James

AU - Hathi, Nimish

AU - Windhorst, Rogier

AU - Cimatti, Andrea

AU - Christensen, Lise

AU - Finkelstein, Steven L.

AU - Grogin, Norman

AU - Joshi, Bhavin

AU - Kim, Keunho

AU - Koekemoer, Anton

AU - O'Connell, Robert

AU - Östlin, Göran

AU - Rothberg, Barry

AU - Ryan, Russell

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AB - We constrain the stellar population properties of a sample of 52 massive galaxies-with stellar mass log (Ms/Mâ™) ≳10.5-over the redshift range 0.5 < z < 2 by use of observer-frame optical and near-infrared slitless spectra from Hubble Space Telescope's ACS and WFC3 grisms. The deep exposures (∼100 ks) allow us to target individual spectra of massive galaxies to F160W = 22.5 AB. Our spectral fitting approach uses a set of six base models adapted to the redshift and spectral resolution of each observation, and fits the weights of the base models, including potential dust attenuation, via a Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. Our sample comprises a mixed distribution of quiescent (19) and star-forming galaxies (33). We quantify the width of the age distribution (Δt) that is found to dominate the variance of the retrieved parameters according to principal component analysis. The population parameters follow the expected trend towards older ages with increasing mass, and Δt appears to weakly anticorrelate with stellar mass, suggesting a more efficient star formation at the massive end. As expected, the redshift dependence of the relative stellar age (measured in units of the age of the Universe at the source) in the quiescent sample rejects the hypothesis of a single burst (aka monolithic collapse). Radial colour gradients within each galaxy are also explored, finding a wider scatter in the star-forming subsample, but no conclusive trend with respect to the population parameters.

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