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Published November 20, 2016 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

The Evolution Of The Faint End Of The UV Luminosity Function During The Peak Epoch Of Star Formation (1 < z < 3)

Abstract

We present a robust measurement of the rest-frame UV luminosity function (LF) and its evolution during the peak epoch of cosmic star formation at 1 < z < 3. We use our deep near-ultraviolet imaging from WFC3/UVIS on the Hubble Space Telescope and existing Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)/WFC and WFC3/IR imaging of three lensing galaxy clusters, Abell 2744 and MACS J0717 from the Hubble Frontier Field survey and Abell 1689. Combining deep UV imaging and high magnification from strong gravitational lensing, we use photometric redshifts to identify 780 ultra-faint galaxies with M_(UV) < -12.5 AB mag at 1 < z < 3. From these samples, we identified five new, faint, multiply imaged systems in A1689. We run a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the completeness correction and effective volume for each cluster using the latest published lensing models. We compute the rest-frame UV LF and find the best-fit faint-end slopes of ɑ =-1.56 ± 0.04, ɑ =-1.72 ± 0.04, and ɑ =-1.94 ± 0.06 at 1.0 < z < 1.6, 1.6 < z < 2.2, and 2.2 < z < 3.0, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the UV LF becomes steeper from z ~ 1.3 to z ~ 2.6 with no sign of a turnover down to M_(UV)=-14 AB mag. We further derive the UV LFs using the Lyman break "dropout" selection and confirm the robustness of our conclusions against different selection methodologies. Because the sample sizes are so large and extend to such faint luminosities, the statistical uncertainties are quite small, and systematic uncertainties (due to the assumed size distribution, for example) likely dominate. If we restrict our analysis to galaxies and volumes above > 50% completeness in order to minimize these systematics, we still find that the faint-end slope is steep and getting steeper with redshift, though with slightly shallower (less negative) values (ɑ =-1.55 pm 0.06, −1.69 ± 0.07, and −1.79 ± 0.08 for z ~ 1.3, 1.9, and 2.6, respectively). Finally, we conclude that the faint star-forming galaxies with UV magnitudes of -18.5 < M_(UV) < -12.5 covered in this study produce the majority (55%–60%) of the unobscured UV luminosity density at 1 < z < 3.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 June 4. Accepted 2016 September 13. Published 2016 November 17. We thank the referee for a careful reading and useful comments that improved this paper. The authors are grateful to the STScI and HFF teams for obtaining and reducing the HST images. A.A. would like to thank Pascal Oesch for providing his individual measurements for photometric redshift LFs, Takatoshi Shibuya for sending size measurements, Jose Diego for providing us with a list of A1689 multiple images, as well as John Blakeslee and Karla Kalamo for providing us with a list of globular clusters of A1689. A.A. also thanks Daniel Weisz for his valuable comments as well as Naveen Reddy, Nader Shakibay Senobari, Mario De Leo, Ali Ahmad Khostovan, and Kaveh Vasei for useful conversations. M.J. acknowledges support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (grant number ST/L00075X/1 & ST/F001166/1). M.L. acknowledges the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) for its support. This work is based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

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Submitted - 1606.00469v2.pdf

Published - Alavi_2016_ApJ_832_56.pdf

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August 22, 2023
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