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An ALMA Survey of Submillimeter Galaxies in the Extended Chandra Deep Field South: The Redshift Distribution and Evolution of Submillimeter Galaxies

Simpson, J.M.; Swinbank, A.M.; Smail, I.; Alexander, D.M.; Brandt, W.N.; Bertoldi, F.; Chapman, S.C.; Coppin, K.E.K.; Danielson, A.L.R.; Dannerbauer, H.; De Breuck, C.; Da Cunha, E.; Greve, T.R.; Hodge, J.A.; Ivison, R.J.; Karim, A.; Knudsen, K.K.; Poggianti, B.M.; Thomson, A.P.; Schinnerer, E.; Walter, F.; Wardlow, J.L.; Weiss, A.; van der Werf, P.P.

An ALMA Survey of Submillimeter Galaxies in the Extended Chandra Deep Field South: The Redshift Distribution and Evolution of Submillimeter Galaxies Thumbnail


J.M. Simpson

W.N. Brandt

F. Bertoldi

S.C. Chapman

K.E.K. Coppin

A.L.R. Danielson

H. Dannerbauer

C. De Breuck

E. Da Cunha

T.R. Greve

J.A. Hodge

R.J. Ivison

A. Karim

K.K. Knudsen

B.M. Poggianti

A.P. Thomson

E. Schinnerer

F. Walter

J.L. Wardlow

A. Weiss

P.P. van der Werf


We present the first photometric redshift distribution for a large sample of 870 μm submillimeter galaxies (SMGs) with robust identifications based on observations with ALMA. In our analysis we consider 96 SMGs in the Extended Chandra Deep Field South, 77 of which have 4-19 band photometry. We model the SEDs for these 77 SMGs, deriving a median photometric redshift of z phot = 2.3 ± 0.1. The remaining 19 SMGs have insufficient photometry to derive photometric redshifts, but a stacking analysis of Herschel observations confirms they are not spurious. Assuming that these SMGs have an absolute H-band magnitude distribution comparable to that of a complete sample of z ~ 1-2 SMGs, we demonstrate that they lie at slightly higher redshifts, raising the median redshift for SMGs to z phot = 2.5 ± 0.2. Critically we show that the proportion of galaxies undergoing an SMG-like phase at z ≥ 3 is at most 35% ± 5% of the total population. We derive a median stellar mass of M sstarf = (8 ± 1) × 1010 M ☉, although there are systematic uncertainties of up to 5 × for individual sources. Assuming that the star formation activity in SMGs has a timescale of ~100 Myr, we show that their descendants at z ~ 0 would have a space density and MH distribution that are in good agreement with those of local ellipticals. In addition, the inferred mass-weighted ages of the local ellipticals broadly agree with the look-back times of the SMG events. Taken together, these results are consistent with a simple model that identifies SMGs as events that form most of the stars seen in the majority of luminous elliptical galaxies at the present day.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2014
Online Publication Date May 30, 2014
Publication Date Jun 20, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 7, 2014
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 788
Issue 2
Keywords Galaxies: evolution, Galaxies, High-redshift, Galaxies: starburst.
Public URL


Published Journal Article (4.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

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