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Exploring the Galaxy Mass-Metallicity Relations at z ~ 3-5

Laskar, Tanmoy and Berger, Edo and Chary, Ranga-Ram (2011) Exploring the Galaxy Mass-Metallicity Relations at z ~ 3-5. Astrophysical Journal, 739 (1). Art. No. 1. ISSN 0004-637X.

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Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) provide a premier tool for studying high-redshift star-forming galaxies thanks to their extreme brightness and association with massive stars. Here we use GRBs to study the galaxy stellar mass-metallicity (M_*-Z) relation at z ~ 3-5, where conventional direct metallicity measurements are extremely challenging. We use the interstellar medium metallicities of long GRB hosts derived from afterglow absorption spectroscopy, in conjunction with host galaxy stellar masses determined from deep Spitzer 3.6 μm observations of 20 GRB hosts. We detect about 1/4 of the hosts with M_(AB)(I) ≈ –21.5 to –22.5 mag and place a limit of M_(AB)(I) ≳ –19 mag on the remaining hosts from a stacking analysis. Using these observations, we present the first rest-frame optical luminosity distribution of long GRB hosts at z ≳ 3 and find that it is similar to the distribution of long GRB hosts at z ~ 1. In comparison to Lyman-break galaxies at the same redshift, GRB hosts are generally fainter, but the sample is too small to rule out an overall similar luminosity function. On the other hand, the GRB hosts appear to be more luminous than the population of Lyα emitters at z ~ 3-4. Using a conservative range of mass-to-light ratios for simple stellar populations (with ages of 70 Myr to ~2 Gyr), we infer the host stellar masses and present mass-metallicity measurements at z ~ 3-5 ((z) ≈ 3.5). We find that the detected GRB hosts, with M_* ≈ 2 × 10^(10) M_☉, display a wide range of metallicities, but that the mean metallicity at this mass scale, Z ≈ 0.3 Z_☉, is lower than measurements at z ≾ 3. Combined with stacking of the non-detected hosts with M_* ≾ 3 × 10^9 M_☉ and Z ≾ 0.1 Z_☉, we find tentative evidence for the existence of an M_*-Z relation at z ~ 3.5 and continued evolution of this relation to systematically lower metallicities from z ~ 2.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Laskar, Tanmoy0000-0003-1792-2338
Berger, Edo0000-0002-9392-9681
Chary, Ranga-Ram0000-0001-7583-0621
Additional Information:© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 February 4; accepted 2011 June 15; published 2011 August 26. We thank the anonymous referee for useful comments, which improved the quality of the manuscript. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: luminosity function, mass function; gamma-ray burst: general; infrared: galaxies
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 98.70.Rz; 98.62.Ai; 98.62.Py; 98.62.Ck; 98.62.Lv
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111003-092017386
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Exploring the Galaxy Mass−metallicity Relation at z ~ 3−5 Tanmoy Laskar et al. 2011 ApJ 739 1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25519
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Oct 2011 16:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:06

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