Benjamin J. Weiner

The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States

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Publications (191)937.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present the public release of the stellar mass catalogs for the GOODS-S and UDS fields obtained using some of the deepest near-IR images available, achieved as part of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) project. We combine the effort from ten different teams, who computed the stellar masses using the same photometry and the same redshifts. Each team adopted their preferred fitting code, assumptions, priors, and parameter grid. The combination of results using the same underlying stellar isochrones reduces the systematics associated with the fitting code and other choices. Thanks to the availability of different estimates, we can test the effect of some specific parameters and assumptions on the stellar mass estimate. The choice of the stellar isochrone library turns out to have the largest effect on the galaxy stellar mass estimates, resulting in the largest distributions around the median value (with a semi interquartile range larger than 0.1 dex). On the other hand, for most galaxies, the stellar mass estimates are relatively insensitive to the different parameterizations of the star formation history. The inclusion of nebular emission in the model spectra does not have a significant impact for the majority of galaxies (less than a factor of 2 for ~80% of the sample). Nevertheless, the stellar mass for the subsample of young galaxies (age < 100 Myr), especially in particular redshift ranges (e.g., 2.2 < z < 2.4, 3.2 < z < 3.6, and 5.5 < z < 6.5), can be seriously overestimated (by up to a factor of 10 for < 20 Myr sources) if nebular contribution is ignored.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Galaxies with stellar masses near M* contain the majority of stellar mass in the universe, and are therefore of special interest in the study of galaxy evolution. The Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) have present day stellar masses near M*, at 5x10^10 Msol (MW-mass) and 10^11 Msol (M31-mass). We study the typical progenitors of these galaxies using ZFOURGE, a deep medium-band near-IR imaging survey, which is sensitive to the progenitors of these galaxies out to z~3. We use abundance-matching techniques to identify the main progenitors of these galaxies at higher redshifts. We measure the evolution in the stellar mass, rest-frame colors, morphologies, far-IR luminosities, and star-formation rates combining our deep multiwavelength imaging with near-IR HST imaging from CANDELS, and far-IR imaging from GOODS-H and CANDELS-H. The typical MW-mass and M31-mass progenitors passed through the same evolution stages, evolving from blue, star-forming disk galaxies at the earliest stages, to redder dust-obscured IR-luminous galaxies in intermediate stages, and to red, more quiescent galaxies at their latest stages. The progenitors of the MW-mass galaxies reached each evolutionary stage at later times (lower redshifts) and with stellar masses that are a factor of 2-3 lower than the progenitors of the M31-mass galaxies. The process driving this evolution, including the suppression of star-formation in present-day M* galaxies requires an evolving stellar-mass/halo-mass ratio and/or evolving halo-mass threshold for quiescent galaxies. The effective size and star-formation rates imply that the baryonic cold-gas fractions drop as galaxies evolve from high redshift to z~0 and are strongly anticorrelated with an increase in the S\'ersic index. Therefore, the growth of galaxy bulges in M* galaxies corresponds to a rapid decline in the galaxy gas fractions and/or a decrease in the star-formation efficiency.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of the first multiply-imaged gravitationally-lensed supernova. The four images form an Einstein cross with over 2" diameter around a z=0.544 elliptical galaxy that is a member of the cluster MACSJ1149.6+2223. The supernova appeared in Hubble Space Telescope exposures taken on 3-20 November 2014 UT, as part of the Grism Lens-Amplified Survey from Space. The images of the supernova coincide with the strongly lensed arm of a spiral galaxy at z=1.491, which is itself multiply imaged by the cluster potential. A measurement of the time delays between the multiple images and their magnification will provide new unprecedented constraints on the distribution of luminous and dark matter in the lensing galaxy and in the cluster, as well as on the cosmic expansion rate.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present clustering measurements and halo masses of star forming galaxies at 0.2 < z < 1.0. After excluding AGN, we construct a sample of 22553 24 {\mu}m sources selected from 8.42 deg^2 of the Spitzer MIPS AGN and Galaxy Evolution Survey of Bo\"otes. Mid-infrared imaging allows us to observe galaxies with the highest star formation rates (SFRs), less biased by dust obscuration afflicting the optical bands. We find that the galaxies with the highest SFRs have optical colors which are redder than typical blue cloud galaxies, with many residing within the green valley. At z > 0.4 our sample is dominated by luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs, L_TIR > 10^11 Lsun) and is comprised entirely of LIRGs and ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs, L_TIR > 10^12 Lsun) at z > 0.6. We observe weak clustering of r_0 = 3-6 Mpc/h for almost all of our star forming samples. We find that the clustering and halo mass depend on L_TIR at all redshifts, where galaxies with higher L_TIR (hence higher SFRs) have stronger clustering. Galaxies with the highest SFRs at each redshift typically reside within dark matter halos of M_halo ~ 10^12.9 Msun/h. This is consistent with a transitional halo mass, above which star formation is largely truncated, although we cannot exclude that ULIRGs reside within higher mass halos. By modeling the clustering evolution of halos, we connect our star forming galaxy samples to their local descendants. Most star forming galaxies at z < 1.0 are the progenitors of L < 2.5L* blue galaxies in the local universe, but star forming galaxies with the highest SFRs (L_TIR >10^11.7 Lsun) at 0.6<z<1.0 are the progenitors of early-type galaxies in denser group environments.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We combine molecular gas masses inferred from CO emission in 500 star forming galaxies (SFGs) between z=0 and 3, from the IRAM-COLDGASS, PHIBSS1/2 and other surveys, with gas masses derived from Herschel far-IR dust measurements in 512 galaxy stacks over the same stellar mass/redshift range. We constrain the scaling relations of molecular gas depletion time scale (tdepl) and gas fraction (Mmolgas/M*) with redshift, specific star formation rate (sSFR) and stellar mass (M*) in SFGs. The CO- and dust-based scaling relations agree remarkably well. This suggests that the CO-H2 mass conversion factor varies little within +-0.6 dex of the main sequence line, and less than a factor of 2 throughout this redshift range. We find that tdepl scales as (1+z)^-0.3 *(sSFR)^-0.5, with no M* dependence. The resulting steep redshift dependence of Mmolgas/M* ~ (1+z)^3 mirrors that of the sSFR and probably reflects the gas supply rate. The decreasing gas fractions at high M* are driven by the flattening of the SFR-M* relation. At constant M*, a larger sSFR is due to a combination of an increasing gas fraction and a decreasing depletion time scale. As a result galaxy integrated samples of the Mmolgas-SFR rate relation exhibit a super-linear slope, which increases with the range of sSFR. With these new relations it is now possible to determine Mmolgas with an accuracy of +-0.1 dex in relative terms, and +-0.2 dex including systematic uncertainties.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We use CANDELS imaging, 3D-HST spectroscopy, and Chandra X-ray data to investigate if active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are preferentially fueled by violent disk instabilities funneling gas into galaxy centers at 1.3<z<2.4. We select galaxies undergoing gravitational instabilities using the number of clumps and degree of patchiness as proxies. The CANDELS visual classification system is used to identify 44 clumpy disk galaxies, along with mass-matched comparison samples of smooth and intermediate morphology galaxies. We note that, despite being being mass-matched and having similar star formation rates, the smoother galaxies tend to be smaller disks with more prominent bulges compared to the clumpy galaxies. The lack of smooth extended disks is probably a general feature of the z~2 galaxy population, and means we cannot directly compare with the clumpy and smooth extended disks observed at lower redshift. We find that z~2 clumpy galaxies have slightly enhanced AGN fractions selected by integrated line ratios (in the mass-excitation method), but the spatially resolved line ratios indicate this is likely due to extended phenomena rather than nuclear AGNs. Meanwhile the X-ray data show that clumpy, smooth, and intermediate galaxies have nearly indistinguishable AGN fractions derived from both individual detections and stacked non-detections. The data demonstrate that AGN fueling modes at z~1.85 - whether violent disk instabilities or secular processes - are as efficient in smooth galaxies as they are in clumpy galaxies.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2014; 793(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The first quenched galaxies (z>2) are both the most massive, and most compact, suggesting a physical connection between high stellar density and efficient, rapid cessation of star-formation. We present rest-frame UV spectra of Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs) at z~3 selected to be candidate progenitors of the quenched galaxies at z~2, compared to other LBGs of similar mass and star-formation rate (non-candidates). We find that candidate progenitors have faster outflow velocities and higher equivalent widths of interstellar absorption lines, implying larger velocity spread among absorbing clouds. Candidates deviate from the relationship between equivalent widths of Lyman-alpha and interstellar absorption lines in that their Lyman-alpha emission remains strong despite high interstellar absorption, possibly indicating that the neutral HI fraction is patchy, such that Lyman-alpha photons can escape. We detect stronger CIV P-Cygni features (emission and absorption) and HeII emission in candidates, indicative of larger populations of metal-rich Wolf-Rayet stars compared to non-candidates. The faster outflows, broader spread of gas velocity, and Lyman-alpha properties of candidates are consistent with their ISM being subject to more energetic feedback than non-candidates. Together with their larger metallicity (implying more evolved star-formation activity) this leads us to propose, if speculatively, that they are likely to quench sooner than non-candidates, supporting the validity of selection criteria used to identify them as progenitors of z~2 passive galaxies. We propose that massive, compact galaxies undergo more rapid growth of their stellar mass content, perhaps because the gas accretion mechanisms are different, and quench sooner than normally-sized LBGs at these (early) epochs.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Recent observations have shown that star-forming galaxies like our own Milky Way evolve kinematically into ordered thin disks over the last ~8 billion years since z=1.2, undergoing a process of "disk settling." For the first time, we study the kinematic evolution of a suite of four state of the art "zoom in" hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy formation and evolution in a fully cosmological context and compare with these observations. Until now, robust measurements of the internal kinematics of simulated galaxies were lacking as the simulations suffered from low resolution, overproduction of stars, and overly massive bulges. The current generation of simulations has made great progress in overcoming these difficulties and is ready for a kinematic analysis. We show that simulated galaxies follow the same kinematic trends as real galaxies: they progressively decrease in disordered motions (sigma_g) and increase in ordered rotation (Vrot) with time. The slopes of the relations between both sigma_g and Vrot with redshift are consistent between the simulations and the observations. In addition, the morphologies of the simulated galaxies become less disturbed with time, also consistent with observations, and they both have similarly large scatter. This match between the simulated and observed trends is a significant success for the current generation of simulations, and a first step in determining the physical processes behind disk settling.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2014; 790(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of two galaxy overdensities in the HST UDF: a proto-cluster, HUDFJ0332.4-2746.6 at $z = 1.84 \pm 0.01$, and a group, HUDFJ0332.5-2747.3 at $z =1.90 \pm 0.01$. The velocity dispersion of HUDFJ0332.4-2746.6 implies a mass of $M_{200}= (2.2 \pm 1.8) \times 10^{14} M_{\odot}$, consistent with the lack of extended X-ray emission. Neither overdensity shows evidence of a red sequence. About $50\%$ of their members show interactions and/or disturbed morphologies, which are a signature of merger remnants. Most of their morphologically classified ETGs have blue colors and show recent star-formation. These observations reveal for the first time large fractions of spectroscopically confirmed star-forming blue ETGs in proto-clusters at $z\approx 2$. These star-forming ETGs are most likely among the progenitors of the quiescent population in clusters at more recent epochs. Their mass-size relation is consistent with that of passive ETGs in clusters at $z\sim0.7-1.5$. If these galaxies are the progenitors of cluster ETGs at these lower redshifts, their size would evolve according to a similar mass-size relation. It is noteworthy that quiescent ETGs in clusters at $z=1.8-2$ also do not show any significant size evolution over this redshift range, contrary to field ETGs. The ETG fraction of our sample is $\lesssim 40\%$, compared to the typical quiescent ETG fraction of $\approx 80\%$ in cluster cores at $z< 1$. The fraction, masses and colors of the newly discovered ETGs imply that other cluster ETGs will be formed/accreted at later time.
    03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: There is cumulative evidence showing that, for the most massive galaxies, the fraction of disc-like objects compared to those with spheroidal properties increases with redshift. However, this evolution is thus far based on the surface brightness study of these objects. To explore the consistency of this scenario, it is necessary to measure the dynamical status of these galaxies. With this aim, we have obtained seeing-limited near-infrared integral-field spectra in the H-band for 10 massive galaxies (M_{*}≥ 10^{11} h_{70}^{-2} M_{☉}) at z ̃ 1.4 with SINFONI at the VLT. Our sample is selected by their stellar mass and EW[O II] > 15 Å, to secure their kinematic measurements, but without accounting for any morphological or flux criteria a priori. Through this 3D kinematic spectroscopy analysis, we find that half (i.e. 50 ± 7 per cent) of our galaxies are compatible with being rotationally supported discs, in agreement with previous morphological expectations. This is a factor of approximately 2 higher than what is observed in the present Universe for objects of the same stellar mass. Strikingly, the majority of our sample of massive galaxies show extended and fairly high rotational velocity maps, implying that massive galaxies acquire rapidly rotational support and hence gravitational equilibrium. Our sample also show evidence for ongoing interactions and mergers. Summarizing, massive galaxies at high-z show a significant diversity and must have continued evolution beyond the fading of stellar populations, to become their present-day counterparts.
    01/2014; 439(2).
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    ABSTRACT: The Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) was a multi-cycle treasury program on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that surveyed a total area of ~0.25 deg^2 with ~900 HST orbits spread across 5 fields over 3 years. Within these survey images we discovered 65 supernovae (SN) of all types, out to z~2.5. We classify ~24 of these as Type Ia SN (SN Ia) based on host galaxy redshifts and SN photometry (supplemented by grism spectroscopy of 6 SN). Here we present a measurement of the volumetric SN Ia rate as a function of redshift, reaching for the first time beyond z=2 and putting new constraints on SN Ia progenitor models. Our highest redshift bin includes detections of SN that exploded when the universe was only ~3 Gyr old and near the peak of the cosmic star formation history. This gives the CANDELS high redshift sample unique leverage for evaluating the fraction of SN Ia that explode promptly after formation (<500 Myr). Combining the CANDELS rates with all available SN Ia rate measurements in the literature we find that this prompt SNIa fraction is f=0.48 +0.08 -0.09 (stat) +0.04 -0.13 (syst), consistent with a delay time distribution that follows a simple t^{-1} power law for all times t>40 Myr. However, a mild tension is apparent between ground-based low-z surveys and space-based high-z surveys. When the rate measurements from HST surveys are examined in isolation, the rarity of SN Ia detections at z>1.5 hints that prompt progenitors in the early universe may in fact be relatively rare, accounting for as little as ~5% of all SN Ia explosions - though further analysis and larger samples will be needed to examine that suggestion.
    The Astronomical Journal 01/2014; 148(1). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have undertaken an ambitious program to visually classify all galaxies in the five CANDELS fields down to H<24.5 involving the dedicated efforts of 65 individual classifiers. Once completed, we expect to have detailed morphological classifications for over 50,000 galaxies up to z<4 over all the fields. Here, we present our detailed visual classification scheme, which was designed to cover a wide range of CANDELS science goals. This scheme includes the basic Hubble sequence types, but also includes a detailed look at mergers and interactions, the clumpiness of galaxies, $k$-corrections, and a variety of other structural properties. In this paper, we focus on the first field to be completed -- GOODS-S. The wide area coverage spanning the full field includes 7634 galaxies that have been classified by at least three different people. In the deep area of the field, 2534 galaxies have been classified by at least five different people at three different depths. With this paper, we release to the public all of the visual classifications in GOODS-S along with the GUI that we developed to classify galaxies. We find that the level of agreement among classifiers is good and depends on both the galaxy magnitude and the galaxy type, with disks showing the highest level of agreement and irregulars the lowest. A comparison of our classifications with the Sersic index and rest-frame colors shows a clear separation between disk and spheroid populations. Finally, we explore morphological k-corrections between the V-band and H-band observations and find that a small fraction (84 galaxies in total) are classified as being very different between these two bands. These galaxies typically have very clumpy and extended morphology or are very faint in the V-band.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The emerging picture of the evolution of cluster galaxies indicates that the epoch of z>1 is a crucial period of active star formation and mass assembly in clusters. In this dissertation, I leverage a uniformly-selected cluster sample from the IRAC Shallow Cluster Survey (ISCS) with Herschel imaging to analyse the star formation (SF) activity in cluster galaxies over the past ten billion years. This analysis is two-fold: 1) using 274 clusters across the 9 square degree Bootes field, I perform a stacking analysis of mass-limited samples of cluster and field galaxies using wide-field Herschel observations over a long redshift baseline, z=0.3-1.5. I find that the average SF activity in cluster galaxies is evolving faster than in the field, with field-like SF in the cluster cores and enhanced SF activity in the cluster outskirts at z>1.2. By further breaking down my analysis by galaxy mass and type, I determine which mechanisms are capable of driving this evolution. 2) I use unique, deep Herschel imaging of 11 spectroscopically-confirmed clusters from z=1.1-1.8 to study the properties of individual infrared bright cluster galaxies as a function of redshift and cluster-centric radius. Combined with ancillary data, I determine the star formation, dust, and AGN properties of the most active cluster galaxies and tie the evolution of these properties back to the environment by comparing to field populations. By combining these two approaches, I constrain cluster galaxy properties during a pivotal epoch of dust-obscured star formation activity and mass assembly in some of the most extreme structures in the Universe.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Based on high-resolution, spatially resolved data of 10 z ~ 2 star-forming galaxies from the SINS/zC-SINF survey and LUCI data for 12 additional galaxies, we probe the excitation properties of high-z galaxies and the impact of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), shocks, and photoionization. We explore how these spatially resolved line ratios can inform our interpretation of integrated emission line ratios obtained at high redshift. Many of our galaxies fall in the "composite" region of the z ~ 0 [N II]/Hα versus [O III]/Hβ diagnostic (BPT) diagram, between star-forming galaxies and those with AGNs. Based on our resolved measurements, we find that some of these galaxies likely host an AGN, while others appear to be affected by the presence of shocks possibly caused by an outflow or from an enhanced ionization parameter as compared with H II regions in normal, local star-forming galaxies. We find that the Mass-Excitation (MEx) diagnostic, which separates purely star-forming and AGN hosting local galaxies in the [O III]/Hβ versus stellar mass plane, does not properly separate z ~ 2 galaxies classified according to the BPT diagram. However, if we shift the galaxies based on the offset between the local and z ~ 2 mass-metallicity relation (i.e., to the mass they would have at z ~ 0 with the same metallicity), we find better agreement between the MEx and BPT diagnostics. Finally, we find that metallicity calibrations based on [N II]/Hα are more biased by shocks and AGNs at high-z than the [O III]/Hβ/[N II]/Hα calibration. Based on observations at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Paranal, Chile (ESO program IDs 073.B-9018, 076.A-0527, 079.A-0341, 080.A-0330, 080.A-0339, 080.A-0635, 083.A-0781,084.A-0853, 087.A-0081, 091.A.-0126) and at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham in Arizona.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2014; 781(1):21-. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present direct constraints on the CO luminosity function at high redshift and the resulting cosmic evolution of the molecular gas density, $\rho_{\rm H2}$(z), based on a blind molecular line scan in the Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N) using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. Our line scan of the entire 3mm window (79-115 GHz) covers a cosmic volume of ~7000 Mpc$^3$, and redshift ranges z<0.45, 1.01<z<1.89 and z>2. We use the rich multiwavelength and spectroscopic database of the HDF-N to derive some of the best constraints on CO luminosities in high redshift galaxies to date. We combine the blind CO detections in our molecular line scan (presented in a companion paper) with stacked CO limits from galaxies with available spectroscopic redshifts (slit or mask spectroscopy from Keck and grism spectroscopy from HST) to give first blind constraints on high-z CO luminosity functions and the cosmic evolution of the H2 mass density $\rho_{\rm H2}$(z) out to redshifts z~3. A comparison to empirical predictions of $\rho_{\rm H2}$(z) shows that the securely detected sources in our molecular line scan already provide significant contributions to the predicted $\rho_{\rm H2}$(z) in the redshift bins ~1.5 and ~2.7. Accounting for galaxies with CO luminosities that are not probed by our observations results in cosmic molecular gas densities $\rho_{\rm H2}$(z) that are higher than current predictions. We note however that the current uncertainties (in particular the luminosity limits, number of detections, as well as cosmic volume probed) are significant, a situation that is about to change with the emerging ALMA observatory.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 782(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a molecular line scan in the Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N) that covers the entire 3mm window (79-115 GHz) using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. Our CO redshift coverage spans z<0.45, 1<z<1.9 and all z>2. We reach a CO detection limit that is deep enough to detect essentially all z>1 CO lines reported in the literature so far. We have developed and applied different line searching algorithms, resulting in the discovery of 17 line candidates. We estimate that the rate of false positive line detections is ~2/17. We identify optical/NIR counterparts from the deep ancillary database of the HDF-N for seven of these candidates and investigate their available SEDs. Two secure CO detections in our scan are identified with star-forming galaxies at z=1.784 and at z=2.047. These galaxies have colors consistent with the `BzK' color selection and they show relatively bright CO emission compared with galaxies of similar dust continuum luminosity. We also detect two spectral lines in the submillimeter galaxy HDF850.1 at z=5.183. We consider an additional 9 line candidates as high quality. Our observations also provide a deep 3mm continuum map (1-sigma noise level = 8.6 $\mu$Jy/beam). Via a stacking approach, we find that optical/MIR bright galaxies contribute only to <50% of the SFR density at 1<z<3, unless high dust temperatures are invoked. The present study represents a first, fundamental step towards an unbiased census of molecular gas in `normal' galaxies at high-z, a crucial goal of extragalactic astronomy in the ALMA era.
    12/2013; 782(2).
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a combined galaxy population analysis for the host galaxies of active galactic nuclei (AGN) identified at 0 < z < 1.4 within the SDSS, Bootes and DEEP2 surveys. We identified AGN in a uniform and unbiased manner at X-ray, infrared and radio wavelengths. Supermassive black holes undergoing radiatively-efficient accretion (detected as X-ray and/or infrared AGN) appear to be hosted in a separate and distinct galaxy population than AGN undergoing powerful mechanically dominated accretion (radio AGN). Consistent with some previous studies, radiatively efficient AGN appear to be preferentially hosted in modest star-forming galaxies, with little dependence on AGN or galaxy luminosity. AGN exhibiting radio-emitting jets due to mechanically-dominated accretion are almost exclusively observed in massive, passive galaxies. Crucially, we now provide strong evidence that the observed host-galaxy trends are independent of redshift. In particular, these different accretion-mode AGN have remained as separate galaxy populations throughout the last 9 Gyr. Furthermore, it appears that galaxies hosting AGN have evolved along the same path as galaxies that are not hosting AGN with little evidence for distinctly separate evolution.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 783(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Of several dozen galaxies observed spectroscopically that are candidates for having a redshift (z) in excess of seven, only five have had their redshifts confirmed via Lyman α emission, at z = 7.008, 7.045, 7.109, 7.213 and 7.215 (refs 1-4). The small fraction of confirmed galaxies may indicate that the neutral fraction in the intergalactic medium rises quickly at z > 6.5, given that Lyman α is resonantly scattered by neutral gas. The small samples and limited depth of previous observations, however, makes these conclusions tentative. Here we report a deep near-infrared spectroscopic survey of 43 photometrically-selected galaxies with z > 6.5. We detect a near-infrared emission line from only a single galaxy, confirming that some process is making Lyman α difficult to detect. The detected emission line at a wavelength of 1.0343 micrometres is likely to be Lyman α emission, placing this galaxy at a redshift z = 7.51, an epoch 700 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy's colours are consistent with significant metal content, implying that galaxies become enriched rapidly. We calculate a surprisingly high star-formation rate of about 330 solar masses per year, which is more than a factor of 100 greater than that seen in the Milky Way. Such a galaxy is unexpected in a survey of our size, suggesting that the early Universe may harbour a larger number of intense sites of star formation than expected.
    Nature 10/2013; 502(7472):524-7. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spectroscopic observations from the Large Binocular Telescope and the Very Large Telescope reveal kinematically narrow lines (~50 km/s) for a sample of 14 Extreme Emission Line Galaxies (EELGs) at redshifts 1.4 < z < 2.3. These measurements imply that the total dynamical masses of these systems are low (< 3x10^9 M_sun). Their large [O III] 5007 equivalent widths (500-1100 Angstroms) and faint blue continuum emission imply young ages of 10-100 Myr and stellar masses of 10^8-10^9 M_sun, confirming the presence of a violent starburst. The dynamical masses represent the first such determinations for low-mass galaxies at z > 1. The stellar mass formed in this vigorous starburst phase represents a large fraction of the total (dynamical) mass, without a significantly massive underlying population of older stars. The occurrence of such intense events in shallow potentials strongly suggests that supernova-driven winds must be of critical importance in the subsequent evolution of these systems.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 778(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compare the star formation (SF) activity in cluster galaxies to the field from z=0.3-1.5 using $Herschel$ SPIRE 250$\mu$m imaging. We utilize 274 clusters from the IRAC Shallow Cluster Survey (ISCS) selected as rest-frame near-infrared overdensities over the 9 square degree Bootes field . This analysis allows us to quantify the evolution of SF in clusters over a long redshift baseline without bias against active cluster systems. Using a stacking analysis, we determine the average star formation rates (SFRs) and specific-SFRs (SSFR=SFR/M$_{\star}$) of stellar mass-limited (M>1.3x10$^{10}$ M$_{\odot}$), statistical samples of cluster and field galaxies, probing both the star forming and quiescent populations. We find a clear indication that the average SF in cluster galaxies is evolving more rapidly than in the field, with field SF levels at z>1.2 in the cluster cores (r<0.5 Mpc), in good agreement with previous ISCS studies. By quantifying the SF in cluster and field galaxies as an exponential function of cosmic time, we determine that cluster galaxies are evolving ~2 times faster than the field. Additionally, we see enhanced SF above the field level at z~1.4 in the cluster outskirts (r>0.5 Mpc). These general trends in the cluster cores and outskirts are driven by the lower mass galaxies in our sample. Blue cluster galaxies have systematically lower SSFRs than blue field galaxies, but otherwise show no strong differential evolution with respect to the field over our redshift range. This suggests that the cluster environment is both suppressing the star formation in blue galaxies on long time-scales and rapidly transitioning some fraction of blue galaxies to the quiescent galaxy population on short time-scales. We argue that our results are consistent with both strangulation and ram pressure stripping acting in these clusters, with merger activity occurring in the cluster outskirts.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2013; 437(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
937.52 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2014
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2013
    • Tel Aviv University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel
    • University of Texas at Austin
      • Department of Astronomy
      Austin, Texas, United States
    • Siena College
      • Department Physics and Astronomy
      Troy, New York, United States
    • Seoul National University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea
    • American Museum of Natural History
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2011–2013
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2012
    • National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
    • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Drexel University
      • Department of Physics
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2011–2012
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Spitzer Science Center
      • • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2010–2012
    • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2008–2012
    • University of California Observatories
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Physics and Astronomy
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      College Park, MD, United States
  • 2002–2008
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 2006
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Los Angeles, California, United States
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Astronomy
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 1999–2000
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States