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High-redshift galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field: colour selection and star formation history to z ~ 4

Madau, Piero and Ferguson, Henry C. and Dickinson, Mark E. and Giavalisco, Mauro and Steidel, Charles C. and Fruchter, Andrew (1996) High-redshift galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field: colour selection and star formation history to z ~ 4. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 283 (4). pp. 1388-1404. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/283.4.1388.

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The Lyman decrement associated with the cumulative effect of H I in QSO absorption systems along the line of sight provides a distinctive feature for identifying galaxies at z ≳ 2.5. Colour criteria, which are sensitive to the presence of a Lyman continuum break superposed on an otherwise flat UV spectrum, have been shown, through Keck spectroscopy, to successfully identify a substantial population of star-forming galaxies at 3 ≲ z ≲ 3.5. Such objects have proven to be surprisingly elusive in field galaxy redshift surveys; quantification of their surface densities and morphologies is crucial for determining how and when galaxies formed. The Hubble Deep Field (HDF) observations offer the opportunity to exploit the ubiquitous effect of intergalactic absorption and obtain useful statistical constraints on the redshift distribution of galaxies to considerably fainter limits than the current spectroscopic limits. We model the H I cosmic opacity as a function of redshift, including scattering in resonant lines of the Lyman series and Lyman continuum absorption, and use stellar population synthesis models with a wide variety of ages, metallicities, dust contents and redshifts to derive colour selection criteria that provide a robust separation between high-redshift and low-redshift galaxies. From the HDF images we construct a sample of star-forming galaxies at 2 ≲z ≲ 4.5. While none of the ∼ 60 objects in the HDF having known Keck/Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrograph (LRIS) spectroscopic redshifts in the range 0 ≲ z ≲1.4 is found to contaminate our high-redshift sample, our colour criteria are able to efficiently select the 2.6 ≲ z ≲ 3.2 galaxies identified by Steidel et al. The ultraviolet (and blue) dropout technique opens up the possibility of investigating cosmic star and element formation in the early Universe. We set a lower limit to the ejection rate of heavy elements per unit comoving volume from Type II supernovae at 〈z〉 = 2.75 of ≈ 3.6 × 10^(−4) M_⊙ yr^(−1) Mpc^(−3) (for q_0 = 0.5 and H_0 = 50 km s^(−1) Mpc^(−1)), which is 3 times higher than the local value but still 4 times lower than the rate observed at z ≈ 1. At 〈z〉 = 4, our lower limit to the cosmic metal ejection rate is ≈ 3 times lower than the 〈z〉 = 2.75 value. We discuss the implications of these results on models of galaxy formation, and on the chemical enrichment and ionization history of the intergalactic medium.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ferguson, Henry C.0000-0001-7113-2738
Dickinson, Mark E.0000-0001-5414-5131
Giavalisco, Mauro0000-0002-7831-8751
Steidel, Charles C.0000-0002-4834-7260
Alternate Title:High Redshift Galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field. Color Selection and Star Formation History to z=4
Additional Information:© 1996 RAS. Accepted 1996 August 15. Received 1996 August 1; in original fonn 1996 July 10. We have benefited from discussions with M. Fall, D. Hogg, C. Leitherer, S. Lilly, Y. Pei, M. Pettini and M. Shull. Support for this work, which was based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, was provided by NASA through grant AR-06337.10-94A from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. MO acknowledges support from the Hubble Fellowship program through grant number HF-01071.01-94A. CCS acknowledges support from the Sloan Foundation and from the NSF through grant AST-9457446.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHF-01071.01-94A
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: formation, galaxies: evolution, intergalactic medium, quasars: absorption lines, cosmology: observations, ultraviolet: galaxies
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170409-071151363
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Official Citation:Piero Madau, Henry C. Ferguson, Mark E. Dickinson, Mauro Giavalisco, Charles C. Steidel, Andrew Fruchter; High-redshift galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field: colour selection and star formation history to z ∼ 4, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 283, Issue 4, 11 December 1996, Pages 1388–1404,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76429
Deposited By: 1Science Import
Deposited On:03 Apr 2018 20:11
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:59

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