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Published November 20, 2003 | Published
Journal Article Open

Star Formation and X‐Ray Emission in Distant Star‐Forming Galaxies


About 45% of the point sources detected in the 2 Ms Chandra exposure of the Hubble Deep Field-North (HDF-N) can be matched with moderately bright galaxies with z < 1.4 that have been studied by the Caltech Faint Galaxy Redshift Survey. Although the optical spectra of these galaxies appear normal, based on their X-ray properties ~20% of them appear to contain weak active galactic nuclei (AGNs). More than 90% of the X-ray photons detected by Chandra from galaxies within the redshift regime 0.4 < z < 1.1 are powered by accretion onto massive black holes. For the sample of galaxies in common, we use their emitted luminosity in the 3727 Å line of [O II] to estimate their star formation rates (SFRs). The X-ray-emitting galaxies are not those with the highest rest-frame equivalent width in this emission line, but rather are among those with the highest SFRs. With SFRs corrected for inclination effects, the distant galaxies show an LX-SFR relationship that is comparable to that of local galaxies. The HDF sample has a significantly higher median SFR and median SFR/galaxy stellar mass than does a sample of local star-forming galaxies. We demonstrate that the observed SFR for most of the galaxies at z ~ 1 in the HDF sample, if maintained as constant over their ages, suffices to produce the stellar mass observed in these galaxies. A rise in SFR at still earlier times is not required. We provide further evidence to support the conclusion that, once AGNs are eliminated, X-ray emission in these distant star-forming galaxies is related to the SFR through the same physical mechanisms that prevail locally.

Additional Information

© 2003. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2003 May 7; accepted 2003 July 30. Based in part on observations obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated jointly by the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The entire Keck/HIRES user community owes a huge debt to Jerry Nelson, Gerry Smith, Bev Oke, and many other people who have worked to make the Keck Telescope and LRIS a reality and to operate and maintain the Keck Observatory. We are grateful to the W. M. Keck Foundation for the vision to fund the construction of the W. M. Keck Observatory. The author extends special thanks to those of Hawaiian ancestry on whose sacred mountain we are privileged to be guests. Without their generous hospitality, none of the observations presented herein would have been possible. I am grateful to R. Sunyaev for helpful conversations and to my collaborators in the HDF-N redshift survey, in particular A. Phillips and Len Cowie, who provided in digital form spectra of several galaxies in the HDF. I thank the referee for helpful suggestions. This publication makes use of data products from the 2MASS, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and by the National Science Foundation. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The extragalactic work of the author is not supported by any federal agency.

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August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023