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The far infra-red SEDs of main sequence and starburst galaxies

Cowley, W.I.; Béthermin, M.; Lagos, C. del P.; Lacey, C.G.; Baugh, C.M.; Cole, S.

The far infra-red SEDs of main sequence and starburst galaxies Thumbnail


W.I. Cowley

M. Béthermin

C. del P. Lagos


We compare observed far infrared/sub-millimetre (FIR/sub-mm) galaxy spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of massive galaxies (M⋆ ≳ 1010 h−1 M⊙) derived through a stacking analysis with predictions from a new model of galaxy formation. The FIR SEDs of the model galaxies are calculated using a self-consistent model for the absorption and re-emission of radiation by interstellar dust based on radiative transfer calculations and global energy balance arguments. Galaxies are selected based on their position on the specific star formation rate (sSFR)–stellar mass (M⋆) plane. We identify a main sequence of star-forming galaxies in the model, i.e. a well-defined relationship between sSFR and M⋆, up to redshift z ∼ 6. The scatter of this relationship evolves such that it is generally larger at higher stellar masses and higher redshifts. There is a remarkable agreement between the predicted and observed average SEDs across a broad range of redshifts (0.5 ≲ z ≲ 4) for galaxies on the main sequence. However, the agreement is less good for starburst galaxies at z ≳ 2, selected here to have elevated sSFRs>10× the main-sequence value. We find that the predicted average SEDs are robust to changing the parameters of our dust model within physically plausible values. We also show that the dust temperature evolution of the main-sequence galaxies in the model is driven by star formation on the main sequence being more burst-dominated at higher redshifts.


Cowley, W., Béthermin, M., Lagos, C. D. P., Lacey, C., Baugh, C., & Cole, S. (2017). The far infra-red SEDs of main sequence and starburst galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 467(1), 1231-1248.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 16, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 20, 2017
Publication Date May 11, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2017
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 467
Issue 1
Pages 1231-1248


Published Journal Article (3.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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