Spitzer observations of red galaxies: Implication for high-redshift star formation

  • Papovich C
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My colleagues and I identified distant red galaxies (DRGs) with J - Ks> 2.3 in the southern Great Observatories Origins Deep Surveys (GOODS-S) field. These galaxies reside at z ∼ 1-3.5, (〈z〉 ≃ 2.2) and based on their ACS (0.4-1 μm), ISAAC (1-2.2 μm), and IRAC (3-8 μm) photometry, they typically have stellar masses M ≥ 1011M⊙. Interestingly, more than 50% of these objects have 24 μm flux densities ≥ 50 μJy. Attributing the IR emission to star-formation implies star-formation rates (SFRs) of ≃100-1000 M⊙yr-1. As a result, galaxies with M ≥ 1011M⊙have specific SFRs equal to or exceeding the global value at z ∼ 1.5-3. In contrast, galaxies with M ≥ 1011M⊙at z ∼ 0.3-0.75 have specific SFRs less than the global average, and more than an order of magnitude lower than that for massive DRGs at z ∼ 1.5-3. Thus, the bulk of star formation in massive galaxies is largely complete by z ∼ 1.5. The red colors and large inferred stellar masses in the DRGs suggest that much of the star formation in these galaxies occurred at redshifts z ≳ 5-6. Using model star-formation histories that match the DRG colors and stellar masses at z ∼ 2-3, and measurements of the UV luminosity density at z ≳ 5-6, we consider what constraints exist on the stellar initial mass function in the progenitors of the massive DRGs at z ∼ 2-3. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Formation
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • High-redshift
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Stars: initial mass function
  • Stellar-content

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  • Casey Papovich

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