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Characterizing the evolving K-band luminosity function using the UltraVISTA, CANDELS and HUDF surveys

Mortlock, Alice and McLure, Ross J. and Bowler, Rebecca A. A. and McLeod, Derek J. and Mármol-Queraltó, Esther and Parsa, Shaghayegh and Dunlop, James S. and Bruce, Victoria A. (2017) Characterizing the evolving K-band luminosity function using the UltraVISTA, CANDELS and HUDF surveys. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 465 (1). pp. 672-687. ISSN 0035-8711. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20170628-134813790

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Abstract

We present the results of a new study of the K-band galaxy luminosity function (KLF) at redshifts z ≤ 3.75, based on a nested combination of the UltraVISTA, Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Legacy Extragalactic Survey and HUDF surveys. The large dynamic range in luminosity spanned by this new data set (3–4 dex over the full redshift range) is sufficient to clearly demonstrate for the first time that the faint-end slope of the KLF at z ≥ 0.25 is relatively steep (−1.3 ≤ α ≤ −1.5 for a single Schechter function), in good agreement with recent theoretical and phenomenological models. Moreover, based on our new data set, we find that a double Schechter function provides a significantly improved description of the KLF at z ≤ 2. At redshifts z ≥ 0.25, the evolution of the KLF is remarkably smooth, with little or no evolution evident at faint (MK ≥ −20.5) or bright magnitudes (MK ≤ −24.5). Instead, the KLF is seen to evolve rapidly at intermediate magnitudes, with the number density of galaxies at MK ≃−23 dropping by a factor of ≃5 over the redshift interval 0.25 ≤ z ≤ 3.75. Motivated by this, we explore a simple description of the evolving KLF based on a double Schechter function with fixed faint-end slopes (α1 = −0.5, α2 = −1.5) and a shared characteristic magnitude (M⋆K MK⋆). According to this parametrization, the normalization of the component which dominates the faint end of the KLF remains approximately constant, with ϕ⋆2 ϕ2⋆ decreasing by only a factor of ≃2 between z ≃0 and 3.25. In contrast, the component which dominates the bright end of the KLF at low redshifts evolves dramatically, becoming essentially negligible by z ≃3. Finally, we note that within this parametrization, the observed evolution of M⋆K MK⋆between z ≃0 and 3.25 is entirely consistent with M⋆K MK⋆ corresponding to a constant stellar mass of M⋆ ≃5 × 1010  M⊙ at all redshifts.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw2728DOIArticle
Additional Information:© 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2016 October 18. Received 2016 October 15; in original form 2016 September 7.
Group:SPLASH, COSMOS
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170628-134813790
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20170628-134813790
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78657
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:28 Jun 2017 21:09
Last Modified:29 Jun 2017 21:49

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