Wednesday 3rd Oct 2012

The rise and fall of the star formation histories of blue galaxies at redshifts 0.2<z<1.4

Camilla Pacifici, Susan A. Kassin, Benjamin Weiner, Stephane Charlot, Jonathan P. Gardner

Popular cosmological scenarios predict that galaxies form hierarchically from the merger of many progenitors, each with their own unique star formation history (SFH). We use the approach recently developed by Pacifici et al. (2012) to constrain the SFHs of 4517 blue (presumably star-forming) galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts in the range 0.2<z<1.4 from the All-Wavelength Extended Groth Strip International Survey (AEGIS). This consists in the Bayesian analysis of the observed galaxy spectral energy distributions with a comprehensive library of synthetic spectra assembled using state-of-the-art models of star formation and chemical enrichment histories, stellar population synthesis, nebular emission, and attenuation by dust. We constrain the SFH of each galaxy in our sample by comparing the observed fluxes in the B, R, I and Ks bands and rest-frame optical emission-line luminosities with those of one million model spectral energy distributions. We explore the dependence of the resulting SFHs on galaxy stellar mass and redshift. We find that the average SFHs of high-mass galaxies rise and fall in a roughly symmetric bell-shaped manner, while those of low-mass galaxies rise progressively in time, consistent with the typically stronger activity of star formation in low-mass compared to high-mass galaxies. For galaxies of all masses, the star formation activity rises more rapidly at high than at low redshift. These findings imply that the standard approximation of exponentially declining SFHs widely used to interpret observed galaxy spectral energy distributions is not appropriate to constrain the physical parameters of star-forming galaxies at intermediate redshifts.


Finding Rare AGN: X-ray Number Counts of Chandra Sources in Stripe 82

Stephanie M. LaMassa, C. Megan Urry, Eilat Glikman, Nico Cappelluti, Francesca Civano, Andrea Comastri, Ezequiel Treister, Arifin, Hans Boehringer, Carie Cardamone, Gayoung Chon, Miranda Kephart, Stephen S. Murray, Gordon Richards, Nic Ross, Joshua S. Rozner, Kevin Schawinski

We present the first results of a wide area X-ray survey within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Stripe 82, a 300 deg$^2$ region of the sky with a substantial investment in multi-wavelength coverage. We analyzed archival {\it Chandra} observations that cover 7.5 deg$^2$ within Stripe 82 ("Stripe 82 ACX"), reaching 4.5$\sigma$ flux limits of 7.9$\times10^{-16}$, 3.4$\times10^{-15}$ and 1.8$\times10^{-15}$ erg s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$ in the soft (0.5-2 keV), hard (2-7 keV) and full (0.5-7 keV) bands, to find 774, 239 and 1118 X-ray sources, respectively. Three hundred twenty-one sources are detected only in the full band and 9 sources are detected solely in the soft band. Utilizing data products from the {\it Chandra} Source Catalog, we construct independent Log$N$-Log$S$ relationships, detailing the number density of X-ray sources as a function of flux, which show general agreement with previous {\it Chandra} surveys. We compare the luminosity distribution of Stripe 82 ACX with the smaller, deeper CDF-S + E-CDFS surveys and with {\it Chandra}-COSMOS, illustrating the benefit of wide-area surveys in locating high luminosity AGN. We also investigate the differences and similarities of X-ray and optical selection to uncover obscured AGN in the local Universe. Finally, we estimate the population of AGN we expect to find with increased coverage of 100 deg$^2$ or 300 deg$^2$, which will provide unprecedented insight into the high redshift, high luminosity regime of black hole growth currently under-represented in X-ray surveys.

arXiv:1210.0549 The Star Formation Relation in Nearby Galaxies
Andreas Schruba

I review observational studies of the large-scale star formation process in nearby galaxies. A wealth of new multi-wavelength data provide an unprecedented view on the interplay of the interstellar medium and (young) stellar populations on a few hundred parsec scale in 100+ galaxies of all types. These observations enable us to relate detailed studies of star formation in the Milky Way to the zoo of galaxies in the distant universe. Within the disks of spiral galaxies, recent star formation strongly scales with the local amount of molecular gas (as traced by CO) with a molecular gas depletion time of ~2 Gyr. This is consistent with the picture that stars form in giant molecular clouds that have about universal properties. Galaxy centers and starbursting galaxies deviate from this normal trend as they show enhanced star formation per unit gas mass suggesting systematic changes in the molecular gas properties and especially the dense gas fraction. In the outer disks of spirals and in dwarf galaxies, the decreasing availability of atomic gas inevitably limits the amount of star formation, though with large local variations. The critical step for the gas-stars circle seems therefore the formation of a molecular gas phase that shows complex dependencies on various environmental properties and are nowadays investigated by intensive simulational work.

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