National Optical Astronomical Observatories

Tucson, AZ, United States

National Optical Astronomical Observatories

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Lotz J.M.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | Lotz J.M.,US Space Telescope Science Institute | Jonsson P.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Cox T.J.,Carnegie Observatories | And 5 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

Calculating the galaxy merger rate requires both a census of galaxies identified as merger candidates and a cosmologically averaged "observability" timescale 〈T obs(z)〉 for identifying galaxy mergers. While many have counted galaxy mergers using a variety of techniques, 〈T obs(z)〉 for these techniques have been poorly constrained. We address this problem by calibrating three merger rate estimators with a suite of hydrodynamic merger simulations and three galaxy formation models. We estimate 〈T obs(z)〉 for (1) close galaxy pairs with a range of projected separations, (2) the morphology indicator G - M 20, and (3) the morphology indicator asymmetry A. Then, we apply these timescales to the observed merger fractions at z < 1.5 from the recent literature. When our physically motivated timescales are adopted, the observed galaxy merger rates become largely consistent. The remaining differences between the galaxy merger rates are explained by the differences in the ranges of the mass ratio measured by different techniques and differing parent galaxy selection. The major merger rate per unit comoving volume for samples selected with constant number density evolves much more strongly with redshift ((1 + z)+3.0 ± 1.1) than samples selected with constant stellar mass or passively evolving luminosity ((1 + z) +0.1 ± 0.4). We calculate the minor merger rate (1:4


Bershady M.A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Martinsson T.P.K.,University of Groningen | Verheijen M.A.W.,University of Groningen | Westfall K.B.,University of Groningen | And 2 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2011

We measure the contribution of galaxy disks to the overall gravitational potential of 30 nearly face-on intermediate-to-late-type spirals from the DiskMass Survey. The central vertical velocity dispersion of the disk stars (σdisk z, R = 0) is related to the maximum rotation speed (V max) as σdisk z, R = 0 0.26V max, consistent with previous measurements for edge-on disk galaxies and a mean stellar velocity ellipsoid axial ratio α ≡ σz/σR = 0.6. For reasonable values of disk oblateness, this relation implies these galaxy disks are submaximal. We find disks in our sample contribute only 15%-30% of the dynamical mass within 2.2 disk scale lengths (hR ), with percentages increasing systematically with luminosity, rotation speed, and redder color. These trends indicate that the mass ratio of disk-to-total matter remains at or below 50% at 2.2 h R even for the most extreme, fast-rotating disks (V max ≥ 300kms-1) of the reddest rest frame, face-on color (B - K 4mag), and highest luminosity (MK < -26.5mag). Therefore, spiral disks in general should be submaximal. Our results imply that the stellar mass-to-light ratio and hence the accounting of baryons in stars should be lowered by at least a factor of three. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Ono Y.,University of Tokyo | Ouchi M.,University of Tokyo | Mobasher B.,University of California at Riverside | Dickinson M.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | And 9 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

We present the results of our ultra-deep Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy of z-dropout galaxies in the Subaru Deep Field and Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey's northern field. For 3 out of 11 objects, we detect an emission line at ∼ 1 μm with a signal-to-noise ratio of ∼10. The lines show asymmetric profiles with high weighted skewness values, consistent with being Lyα, yielding redshifts of z = 7.213, 6.965, and 6.844. Specifically, we confirm the z = 7.213 object in two independent DEIMOS runs with different spectroscopic configurations. The z = 6.965 object is a known Lyα emitter, IOK-1, for which our improved spectrum at a higher resolution yields a robust skewness measurement. The three z-dropouts have Lyα fluxes of 3 × 10-17ergs-1cm-2 and rest-frame equivalent widths EWLyα 0 = 33-43 . Based on the largest spectroscopic sample of 43 z-dropouts, which is the combination of our and previous data, we find that the fraction of Lyα-emitting galaxies (EW Lyα 0 > 25 Å ) is low at z ∼ 7; 17% 10% and 24% ± 12% for bright (M UV ≃ -21) and faint (M UV ≃ -19.5) galaxies, respectively. The fractions of Lyα-emitting galaxies drop from z ∼ 6 to 7 and the amplitude of the drop is larger for faint galaxies than for bright galaxies. These two pieces of evidence would indicate that the neutral hydrogen fraction of the intergalactic medium increases from z ∼ 6 to 7 and that the reionization proceeds from high- to low-density environments, as suggested by an inside-out reionization model. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Cheung E.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Faber S.M.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Koo D.C.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Dutton A.A.,University of Victoria | And 24 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

The shutdown of star formation in galaxies is generally termed "quenching." Quenching may occur through a variety of processes, e.g., active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback, stellar feedback, or the shock heating of gas in the dark matter halo. However, which mechanism(s) is, in fact, responsible for quenching is still in question. This paper addresses quenching by searching for traces of possible quenching processes through their effects on galaxy structural parameters such as stellar mass (M), M/re, surface stellar mass density (M/r 2e), and Sérsic index (n). We analyze the rest-frame U - B color correlations versus these structural parameters using a sample of galaxies in the redshift range 0.5 ≤ z < 0.8 from the DEEP2/AEGIS survey. In addition to global radii, stellar masses, and Sérsic parameters, we also use "bulge" and "disk" photometric measurements from GIM2D fits to HST/ACS V and I images. We assess the tightness of the color relationships by measuring their "overlap regions," defined as the area in color-parameter space in which red and blue galaxies overlap; the parameter that minimizes these overlap regions is considered to be the most effective color discriminator. We find that Sérsic index (n) has the smallest overlap region among all tested parameters and resembles a step function with a threshold value of n = 2.3. There exists, however, a significant population of outliers with blue colors yet high n values that seem to contradict this behavior; they make up 40% of n > 2.3 galaxies. We hypothesize that their Sérsic values may be distorted by bursts of star formation, AGNs, and/or poor fits, leading us to consider central surface stellar mass density, Σ1 kpc, as an alternative to Sérsic index. Not only does Σ1 kpc correct the outliers, but it also forms a tight relationship with color, suggesting that the innermost structure of galaxies is most physically linked with quenching. Furthermore, at z 0.65, the majority of the blue cloud galaxies cannot simply fade onto the red sequence since their GIM2D bulge masses are only half as large on average as the bulge masses of similar red sequence galaxies, thus demonstrating that stellar mass must absolutely increase at the centers of galaxies as they quench. We discuss a two-stage model for quenching in which galaxy star formation rates are controlled by their dark halos while they are still in the blue cloud and a second quenching process sets in later, associated with the central stellar mass buildup. The mass buildup is naturally explained by any non-axisymmetric features in the potential, such as those induced by mergers and/or disk instabilities. However, the identity of the second quenching agent is still unknown. We have placed our data catalog online. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Conselice C.J.,University of Nottingham | Bluck A.F.L.,University of Nottingham | Buitrago F.,University of Nottingham | Bauer A.E.,University of Nottingham | And 27 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2011

We present the details and early results from a deep near-infrared survey utilizing the NICMOS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope centred around massive M* > 10 11 M⊙ galaxies at 1.7 < z < 2.9 found within the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) fields North and South. The GOODS NICMOS Survey (GNS) was designed to obtain deep F160W (H-band) imaging of 80 of these massive galaxies and other colour-selected objects such as Lyman-break dropouts, BzK objects, distant red galaxies (DRGs), extremely red objects (EROs), Spitzer-selected EROs, BX/BM galaxies, as well as flux-selected submillimetre galaxies. We present in this paper details of the observations, our sample selection, as well as a description of the properties of the massive galaxies found within our survey fields. This includes photometric redshifts, rest-frame colours and stellar masses. We furthermore provide an analysis of the selection methods for finding massive galaxies at high redshifts, including colour-selection methods and how galaxy populations selected through these colour methods overlap. We find that a single colour selection method cannot locate all of the massive galaxies, with no one method finding more than 70 per cent. We however find that the combination of these colour methods finds nearly all of the massive galaxies that would have been identified in a photometric redshift sample, with the exception of apparently rare blue massive galaxies. By investigating the rest-frame (U - B) versus M B diagram for these galaxies, we furthermore show that there exists a bimodality in colour-magnitude space at z < 2, driven by stellar mass, such that the most massive galaxies are systematically red up to z ~ 2.5, while lower mass galaxies tend to be blue. We also discuss the number densities for galaxies with stellar masses M* > 10 11 M⊙, whereby we find an increase of a factor of 8 between z = 3 and 1.5, demonstrating that this is an epoch when massive galaxies establish most of their stellar mass. We also provide an overview of the evolutionary properties of these galaxies, such as their merger histories, and size evolution. © 2011 The Authors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS.


Overzier R.A.,Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics | Heckman T.M.,Johns Hopkins University | Jing W.,Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics | Armus L.,Spitzer Science Center | And 13 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2011

We present a new analysis of the dust obscuration in starburst galaxies at low and high redshifts. This study is motivated by our unique sample of the most extreme UV-selected starburst galaxies in the nearby universe (z < 0.3), found to be good analogs of high-redshift Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) in most of their physical properties. We find that the dust properties of the Lyman break analogs (LBAs) are consistent with the relation derived previously by Meurer et al. (M99) that is commonly used to dust-correct star formation rate (SFR) measurements at a very wide range of redshifts. We directly compare our results with high-redshift samples (LBGs, "BzK," and submillimeter galaxies at z ∼ 2-3) having IR data either from Spitzer or Herschel. The attenuation in typical LBGs at z ∼ 2-3 and LBAs is very similar. Because LBAs are much better analogs to LBGs compared to previous local star-forming samples, including M99, the practice of dust-correcting the SFRs of high-redshift galaxies based on the local calibration is now placed on a much more solid ground. We illustrate the importance of this result by showing how the locally calibrated relation between UV measurements and extinction is used to estimate the integrated, dust-corrected SFR density at z - 2-6. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society.


Pierce C.M.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Pierce C.M.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Lotz J.M.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | Primack J.R.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 11 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

We assess the effects of simulated active galactic nuclei (AGN) on the colour and morphology measurements of their host galaxies. To test the morphology measurements, we select a sample of galaxies not known to host AGN and add a series of point sources scaled to represent specified fractions of the observed V-band light detected from the resulting systems; we then compare morphology measurements of the simulated systems to measurements of the original galaxies. AGN contributions ≳ 20 per cent bias most of the morphology measurements tested, though the extent of the apparent bias depends on the morphological characteristics of the original galaxies. We test colour measurements by adding to non-AGN galaxy spectra a quasar spectrum scaled to contribute specified fractions of the rest-frame B-band light detected from the resulting systems. A quasar fraction of 5 per cent can move the NUV - r colour of an elliptical galaxy from the ultraviolet-optical red sequence to the green valley, and 20 per cent can move it into the blue cloud. Combining the colour and morphology results, we find that a galaxy/AGN system with an AGN contribution ≳ 20 per cent may appear bluer and more bulge dominated than the underlying galaxy. We conclude that (1) bulge-dominated, E/S0/Sa, and early-type morphology classifications are accurate for red AGN host galaxies and may be accurate for blue host galaxies, unless the AGN manifests itself as a well-defined point source and (2) although highly unobscured AGN, such as the quasar used for our experiments, can significantly bias the measured colours of AGN host galaxies, it is possible to identify such systems by examining optical images of the hosts for the presence of a point source and/or measuring the level of nuclear obscuration. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.


Lepine S.,American Museum of Natural History | Bergeron P.,University of Montréal | Lanning H.H.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | Lanning H.H.,Kitt Peak National Observatory
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2011

We present spectroscopic observations confirming the identification of hot white dwarfs among UV-bright sources from the Sandage Two-color Survey of the Galactic Plane and listed in the Lanning (Lan) catalog of such sources. A subsample of 213 UV-bright Lan sources have been identified as candidate white dwarfs based on the detection of a significant proper motion. Spectroscopic observations of 46 candidates with the KPNO 2.1m telescope confirm 30 sources to be hydrogen white dwarfs with subtypes in the DA1-DA6 range, and with one of the stars (Lan 161) having an unresolved M dwarf as a companion. Five more sources are confirmed to be helium white dwarfs, with subtypes from DB3 to DB6. One source (Lan 364) is identified as a DZ 3 white dwarf, with strong lines of calcium. Three more stars are found to have featureless spectra (to within detection limits) and are thus classified as DC white dwarfs. In addition, three sources are found to be hot subdwarfs: Lan 20 and Lan 480 are classified as sdOB, and Lan 432 is classified sdB. The remaining four objects are found to be field F star interlopers. Physical parameters of the DA and DB white dwarfs are derived from model fits. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Melbourne J.,California Institute of Technology | Williams B.F.,University of Washington | Dalcanton J.J.,University of Washington | Rosenfield P.,University of Washington | And 8 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Using high spatial resolution Hubble Space TelescopeWFC3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys imaging of resolved stellar populations, we constrain the contribution of thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars and red helium burning (RHeB) stars to the 1.6 μm near-infrared (NIR) luminosities of 23 nearby galaxies, including dwarfs and spirals. The TP-AGB phase contributes as much as 17% of the integrated F160W flux, even when the red giant branch is well populated. The RHeB population contribution can match or even exceed the TP-AGB contribution, providing as much as 21% (18% after a statistical correction for foreground) of the integrated F160W light. We estimate that these two short-lived phases may account for up to 70% of the rest-frame NIR flux at higher redshift. The NIR mass-to-light (M/L) ratio should therefore be expected to vary significantly due to fluctuations in the star formation rate (SFR) over timescales from 25Myr to several Gyr, an effect that may be responsible for some of the lingering scatter in NIR galaxy scaling relations such as the Tully-Fisher and metallicity-luminosity relations. We compare our observational results to predictions based on optically derived star formation histories and stellar population synthesis (SPS) models, including models based on the 2008 Padova isochrones (used in popular SPS programs) and the updated 2010 Padova isochrones, which shorten the lifetimes of low-mass (old) low-metallicity TP-AGB populations. The updated (2010) SPS models generally reproduce the expected numbers of TP-AGB stars in the sample; indeed, for 65% of the galaxies, the discrepancy between modeled and observed numbers is smaller than the measurement uncertainties. The weighted mean model/data number ratio for TP-AGB stars is 1.5 (1.4 with outliers removed) with a standard deviation of 0.5. The same SPS models, however, give a larger discrepancy in the F160W flux contribution from the TP-AGB stars, overpredicting the flux by a weighted mean factor of 2.3 (2.2 with outliers removed) with a standard deviation of 0.8. This larger offset is driven by the prediction of modest numbers of high-luminosity TP-AGB stars at young (<300Myr) ages. The best-fit SPS models simultaneously tend to underpredict the numbers and fluxes of stars on the RHeB sequence, typically by a factor of 2.0 ± 0.6 for galaxies with significant numbers of RHeBs. Possible explanations for both the TP-AGB and RHeB model results include (1) difficulties with measuring the SFHs of galaxies especially on the short timescales over which these stars evolve (several Myr), (2) issues with the way the SPS codes populate the color-magnitude diagrams (e.g., how they handle pulsations or self-extinction), and/or (3) lingering issues with the lifetimes of these stars in the stellar evolution codes. Coincidentally these two competing discrepancies - overprediction of the TP-AGB and underprediction of the RHeBs - result in a predicted NIR M/L ratio largely unchanged for a rapid SFR, after correcting for these effects. However, the NIR-to-optical flux ratio of galaxies could be significantly smaller than AGB-rich models would predict, an outcome that has been observed in some intermediate-redshift post-starburst galaxies. © 2012 The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Pierce C.M.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Pierce C.M.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Lotz J.M.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | Salim S.,National Optical Astronomical Observatories | And 7 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

We describe the effect of active galactic nucleus (AGN) light on host galaxy optical and UV-optical colours, as determined from X-ray-selected AGN host galaxies at z~ 1, and compare the AGN host galaxy colours to those of a control sample matched to the AGN sample in both redshift and stellar mass. We identify as X-ray-selected AGNs 8.7+4 -3 per cent of the red-sequence control galaxies, 9.8 ± 3 per cent of the blue-cloud control galaxies and 14.7+4 -3 per cent of the green-valley control galaxies. The nuclear colours of AGN hosts are generally bluer than their outer colours, while the control galaxies exhibit redder nuclei. AGNs in blue-cloud host galaxies experience less X-ray obscuration, while AGNs in red-sequence hosts have more, which is the reverse of what is expected from general considerations of the interstellar medium. Outer and integrated colours of AGN hosts generally agree with the control galaxies, regardless of X-ray obscuration, but the nuclear colours of unobscured AGNs are typically much bluer, especially for X-ray luminous objects. Visible point sources are seen in many of these, indicating that the nuclear colours have been contaminated by AGN light and that obscuration of the X-ray radiation and visible light are therefore highly correlated. Red AGN hosts are typically slightly bluer than red-sequence control galaxies, which suggests that their stellar populations are slightly younger. We compare these colour data to current models of AGN formation. The unexpected trend of less X-ray obscuration in blue-cloud galaxies and more in red-sequence galaxies is problematic for all AGN feedback models, in which gas and dust is thought to be removed as star formation shuts down. A second class of models involving radiative instabilities in hot gas is more promising for red-sequence AGNs but predicts a larger number of point sources in red-sequence AGNs than is observed. Regardless, it appears that multiple AGN models are necessary to explain the varied AGN host properties discussed in the current work. Finally, we find that integrated optical and UV - optical colours are not strongly affected by X-ray-selected AGNs except in rare cases (<10 per cent), where the AGN is very luminous, unobscured and/or visible as a point source. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.

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