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Published September 1996 | Published + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

New Insight on Galaxy Formation and Evolution From Keck Spectroscopy of the Hawaii Deep Fields


We present the results of spectroscopic studies with the LRIS spectrograph on Keck of two of the Hawaii deep survey fields. The 393 objects observed cover a 26.2 arcmin^2 area and constitute a nearly complete sample down to K = 20, I = 23, and B = 24.5. The rest-frame K- band luminosity function and its evolution with redshift are described. Comparisons are made with other optically selected (B and I) samples in the literature, and the corresponding rest-frame B-band luminosity function evolution is presented. The B-band counts at B ~ 24 are shown to be a mixture of normal galaxies at modest redshifts and galaxies undergoing rapid star formation, which have a wide range of masses and which are spread over the redshift interval from z = 0.2 to beyond z = 1.7. The luminosity functions, number counts, and color distributions at optical and IR wavelengths are discussed in terms of a consistent picture of the star-forming history of the galaxy sample. [O II] emission-line diagnostics or rest-frame ultraviolet-infrared color information are used in combination with rest-frame absolute H magnitudes to construct a "fundamental plane" in which the evolution of the global star-formation rate with redshift can be shown, and we find that the maximum rest-frame K luminosity of galaxies undergoing rapid star formation has been declining smoothly with decreasing redshift from a value near L_* at z > 1. This smooth decrease in the characteristic luminosity of galaxies dominated by star formation can simultaneously account for the high B- band galaxy counts at faint magnitudes and the redshift distribution at z < 1 in both the B- and K-selected samples. Finally, the overall K-band light density evolution is discussed as a tracer of the baryonic mass in stars and compared with the overall rates of star formation inferred from the rest-frame ultraviolet light density as a function of redshift.

Additional Information

© 1996 American Astronomical Society. Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1996 January 5; revised 1996 May 28. We would like to thank Karl Glazebrook, Stéphane Chariot, Tom Shanks, Caryl Gronwall, Tom Broadhurst, and most particularly the referee, Richard Ellis, for their many helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. We are grateful to Tom Bida, Peter Gillingham, Joel Aycock, Teresa Chelminiak, Barabara Schaefer, and Wayne Wack for their extensive help in obtaining the observations with the Keck LRIS spectrograph. This work was partly based on observations obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and was supported by the State of Hawaii and by NASA through grants number GO-5399.01-93A, GO-5922.01-94A, and GO-6626.01-95A from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

Attached Files

Published - 1996AJ____112__839C.pdf

Accepted Version - 9606079


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October 20, 2023