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Evolution of Dust-obscured Star Formation and Gas to z = 2.2 from HiZELS

Thomson, A.P.; Simpson, J.M.; Smail, Ian; Swinbank, A.M.; Best, P.N.; Sobral, D.; Geach, J.E.; Ibar, E.; Johnson, H.L.

Evolution of Dust-obscured Star Formation and Gas to z = 2.2 from HiZELS Thumbnail


J.M. Simpson

P.N. Best

D. Sobral

J.E. Geach

E. Ibar

H.L. Johnson


We investigate the far-infrared properties of galaxies selected via deep, narrow-band imaging of the Hα emission line in four redshift slices from z=0.40--2.23 over ∼1deg2 as part of the High-redshift Emission Line Survey (HiZELS). We use a stacking approach in the Herschel PACS/SPIRE bands, along with 850μm imaging from SCUBA-2 to study the evolution of the dust properties of Hα-emitters selected above an evolving characteristic luminosity threshold, 0.2L⋆Hα(z). We investigate the relationship between the dust temperatures and the far-infrared luminosities of our stacked samples, finding that Hα-selection identifies cold, low-LIR galaxies (Tdust∼14k; log[LIR/L⊙]∼9.9) at z=0.40, and more luminous, warmer systems (Tdust∼34k; log[LIR/L⊙]∼11.5) at z=2.23. Using a modified greybody model, we estimate "characteristic sizes" for the dust-emitting regions of HiZELS galaxies of ∼0.5kpc, nearly an order of magnitude smaller than their stellar continuum sizes, which may provide indirect evidence of clumpy ISM structure. Lastly, we measure the dust masses from our far-IR SEDs along with metallicity-dependent gas-to-dust ratios (δGDR) to measure typical molecular gas masses of ∼1010M⊙ for these bright Hα-emitters. The gas depletion timescales are shorter than the Hubble time at each redshift, suggesting probable replenishment of their gas reservoirs from the intergalactic medium. Based on the number density of Hα-selected galaxies, we find that typical star-forming galaxies brighter than 0.2L⋆Hα(z) host a significant fraction (35±10%) of the total gas content of the Universe, consistent with the predictions of the latest cosmological simulations.


Thomson, A., Simpson, J., Smail, I., Swinbank, A., Best, P., Sobral, D., …Johnson, H. (2017). Evolution of Dust-obscured Star Formation and Gas to z = 2.2 from HiZELS. Astrophysical Journal, 838(2), Article 119.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2017
Publication Date Mar 31, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 11, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2017
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 838
Issue 2
Article Number 119


Published Journal Article (808 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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