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Published July 1, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

HerMES: A Statistical Measurement of the Redshift Distribution of Herschel-SPIRE Sources Using the Cross-correlation Technique


The wide-area imaging surveys with the Herschel Space Observatory at submillimeter (sub-mm) wavelengths have now resulted in catalogs of the order of one-hundred-thousand dusty, starburst galaxies. These galaxies capture an important phase of galaxy formation and evolution, but, unfortunately, the redshift distribution of these galaxies, N(z), is still mostly uncertain due to limitations associated with counterpart identification at optical wavelengths and spectroscopic follow-up. We make a statistical estimate of N(z) using a clustering analysis of sub-mm galaxies detected at each of 250, 350 and 500 μm from the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey centered on the Boötes field. We cross-correlate Herschel galaxies against galaxy samples at optical and near-IR wavelengths from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the NOAO Deep Wide Field Survey, and the Spitzer Deep Wide Field Survey. We create optical and near-IR galaxy samples based on their photometric or spectroscopic redshift distributions and test the accuracy of those redshift distributions with similar galaxy samples defined with catalogs from the Cosmological Evolution Survey (COSMOS), which has superior spectroscopic coverage. We model the clustering auto- and cross-correlations of Herschel and optical/IR galaxy samples to estimate N(z) and clustering bias factors. The S_(350) > 20 mJy galaxies have a bias factor varying with redshift as b(z) = 1.0^(+1.0)_(–0.5)(1 + z)^1.2^(+0.3)_(–0.7). This bias and the redshift dependence is broadly in agreement with galaxies that occupy dark matter halos of mass in the range of 1012 to 10^(13) M_☉. We find that galaxy selections in all three Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) bands share a similar average redshift, with = 1.8 ± 0.2 for 250 μm selected samples, and = 1.9 ± 0.2 for both 350 and 500 μm samples, while their distributions behave differently. For 250 μm selected galaxies we find the a larger number of sources with z ≤ 1 when compared with the subsequent two SPIRE bands, with 350 and 500 μm selected SPIRE samples having peaks in N(z) at progressively higher redshifts. We compare our clustering-based N(z) results to sub-mm galaxy model predictions in the literature, and with an estimate of N(z) using a stacking analysis of COSMOS 24 μm detections.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 February 29; accepted 2012 April 24; published 2012 June 11. SPIRE has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff University (UK) and including: the University of Lethbridge (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, LAM (France); IFSI, the University of Padua (Italy); IAC (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); Imperial College London, RAL, UCLMSSL, UKATC, the University of Sussex (UK); and Caltech, JPL, NHSC, the 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, UKSA (UK); and NASA (USA). The data presented in this paper will be released through the HeDaM Database in Marseille. This work made use of images and/or data products provided by the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey, which is supported by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). NOAO is operated by AURA, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSSWeb site is http://www.sdss.org/. The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, the University of Basel, the University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, The Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington. K.M.W., Y.G., A.C., J.S., and J.L.W. are supported by NASA funds for U.S. participants in Herschel through an award from JPL. A.C. and Y.G. also acknowledge support from NSF CAREER AST-0645427 (to A.C.) and K.M.W. acknowledges support from a NSF REU supplement. S.O., A.S., and L.W. acknowledge support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (grant No. ST/F002858/1) and (grant No. ST/I000976/1). A.F., L.M., and M.V. were supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI Herschel Science Contract I/005/07/0).

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