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Published November 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

HerMES: Herschel-SPIRE observations of Lyman break galaxies


We present first results of a study of the submillimetre (submm) (rest-frame far-infrared) properties of z ~ 3 Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) and their lower redshift counterparts BX/BM galaxies, based on Herschel-SPIRE observations of the Northern field of the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS-N). We use stacking analysis to determine the properties of LBGs well below the current limit of the survey. Although LBGs are not detected individually, stacking the infrared luminous LBGs (those detected with Spitzer at 24 μm) yields a statistically significant submm detection with mean flux 〈S_(250)〉= 5.9 ± 1.4 mJy confirming the power of SPIRE in detecting UV-selected high-redshift galaxies at submm wavelengths. In comparison, the Spitzer 24 μm detected BX/BM galaxies appear fainter with a stacked value of〈S_(250)〉= 2.7 ± 0.8 mJy. By fitting the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) we derive median infrared luminosities, L_(IR), of 2.8 × 10^(12) L_⊙ and 1.5 × 10^(11) L_⊙ for z ~ 3 LBGs and BX/BMs, respectively. We find that LIR estimates derived from present measurements are in good agreement with those based on UV data for z ~ 2 BX/BM galaxies, unlike the case for z ~ 3 infrared luminous LBGs where the UV underestimates the true L_(IR). Although sample selection effects may influence this result we suggest that differences in physical properties (such as morphologies, dust distribution and extent of star-forming regions) between z ~ 3 LBGs and z ~ 2 BX/BMs may also play a significant role.

Additional Information

© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS. Accepted 2010 September 10. Received 2010 September 2; in original form 2010 June 20. Article first published online: 12 Oct. 2010. SPIRE has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff University (UK) and including University of Lethbridge (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, LAM(France); IFSI, University of Padua (Italy); IAC (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); Imperial College London, RAL, UCL-MSSL, UKATC, University of Sussex (UK); Caltech, JPL, NHSC, University of Colorado (USA). This development has been supported by national funding agencies: CSA (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, CNES, CNRS (France); ASI (Italy); MCINN (Spain); SNSB (Sweden); STFC (UK) and NASA (USA). The data presented in this Letter will be released through the Herschel data base in Marseille HeDaM (hedam.oamp.fr/HerMES).

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