Darren J. Croton

Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (106)490.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: With the installation of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope, measurements of the metal content of the low redshift intergalactic medium (IGM) are now available. Using a new grid-based model for diffuse gas coupled to the SAGE semi-analytic model of galaxy formation, we examine the impact of supernova feedback on the pollution of the IGM. We consider different assumptions for the reheating and ejection of gas by supernovae and their dependence on galaxy circular velocity and gas surface density. Where metals are present, we find the most likely metallicity to be $-1.5 < $log$_{10}$(Z/Z$_{\odot}$)$< -1.0$ at $z = 0$, consistent with both observations and more sophisticated hydrodynamic simulations. Our model predicts that the regions of the IGM with the highest metallicities will be near galaxies with M$_{\star} \sim 10^{10.5}h^{-1}$M$_{\odot}$ and in environments of densities $\sim 10 \times$ the mean. We also find that 90% of IGM metals at $z = 0$ are ejected by galaxies with stellar masses less than $10^{10.33}h^{-1}$M$_{\odot}$.
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    ABSTRACT: In the upcoming synoptic all--sky survey era of astronomy, thousands of new multiply imaged quasars are expected to be discovered and monitored regularly. Light curves from the images of gravitationally lensed quasars are further affected by superimposed variability due to microlensing. In order to disentangle the microlensing from the intrinsic variability of the light curves, the time delays between the multiple images have to be accurately measured. The resulting microlensing light curves can then be analyzed to reveal information about the background source, such as the size of the quasar accretion disc. In this paper we present the most extensive and coherent collection of simulated microlensing light curves; we have generated $>2.5$ billion light curves using the GERLUMPH high resolution microlensing magnification maps. Our simulations can be used to: train algorithms to measure lensed quasar time delays, plan future monitoring campaigns, and study light curve properties throughout parameter space. Our data are openly available to the community and are complemented by online eResearch tools, located at http://gerlumph.swin.edu.au .
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    ABSTRACT: This article is the second in a series in which we perform an extensive comparison of various galaxy-based cluster mass estimation techniques that utilise the positions, velocities and colours of galaxies. Our aim is to quantify the scatter, systematic bias and completeness of cluster masses derived from a diverse set of 25 galaxy-based methods using two contrasting mock galaxy catalogues based on a sophisticated halo occupation model and a semi-analytic model. Analysing 968 clusters, we find a wide range in the RMS errors in log M200c delivered by the different methods (0.18 to 1.08 dex, i.e., a factor of ~1.5 to 12), with abundance matching and richness methods providing the best results, irrespective of the input model assumptions. In addition, certain methods produce a significant number of catastrophic cases where the mass is under- or over-estimated by a factor greater than 10. Given the steeply falling high-mass end of the cluster mass function, we recommend that richness or abundance matching-based methods are used in conjunction with these methods as a sanity check for studies selecting high mass clusters. We see a stronger correlation of the recovered to input number of galaxies for both catalogues in comparison with the group/cluster mass, however, this does not guarantee that the correct member galaxies are being selected. We do not observe significantly higher scatter for either mock galaxy catalogues. Our results have implications for cosmological analyses that utilise the masses, richnesses, or abundances of clusters, which have different uncertainties when different methods are used.
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    ABSTRACT: Currently-proposed galaxy quenching mechanisms predict very different behaviours during major halo mergers, ranging from significant quenching enhancement (e.g., clump-induced gravitational heating models) to significant star formation enhancement (e.g., gas starvation models). To test real galaxies' behaviour, we present an observational galaxy pair method for selecting galaxies whose host haloes are preferentially undergoing major mergers. Applying the method to central L* (10^10 Msun < M* < 10^10.5 Msun) galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) at z<0.06, we find that major halo mergers can at most modestly reduce the star-forming fraction, from 59% to 47%. Consistent with past research, however, mergers accompany enhanced specific star formation rates for star-forming L* centrals: ~10% when a paired galaxy is within 200 kpc (approximately the host halo's virial radius), climbing to ~70% when a paired galaxy is within 30 kpc. No evidence is seen for even extremely close pairs (<30 kpc separation) rejuvenating star formation in quenched galaxies. For galaxy formation models, our results suggest: (1) quenching in L* galaxies likely begins due to decoupling of the galaxy from existing hot and cold gas reservoirs, rather than a lack of available gas or gravitational heating from infalling clumps, (2) state-of-the-art semi-analytic models currently over-predict the effect of major halo mergers on quenching, and (3) major halo mergers can trigger enhanced star formation in non-quenched central galaxies.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2015; 447(1). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu2478 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compare the predictions of three independently developed semi-analytic galaxy formation models (SAMs) that are being used to aid in the interpretation of results from the CANDELS survey. These models are each applied to the same set of halo merger trees extracted from the "Bolshoi" high-resolution cosmological N-body simulation and are carefully tuned to match the local galaxy stellar mass function using the powerful method of Bayesian Inference coupled with Markov Chain Monte Carlo or by hand. The comparisons reveal that in spite of the significantly different parameterizations for star formation and feedback processes, the three models yield qualitatively similar predictions for the assembly histories of galaxy stellar mass and star formation over cosmic time. Comparing SAM predictions with existing estimates of the stellar mass function from z = 0-8, we show that the SAMs generally require strong outflows to suppress star formation in low-mass halos to match the present-day stellar mass function, as is the present common wisdom. However, all of the models considered produce predictions for the star formation rates (SFRs) and metallicities of low-mass galaxies that are inconsistent with existing data. The predictions for metallicity-stellar mass relations and their evolution clearly diverge between the models. We suggest that large differences in the metallicity relations and small differences in the stellar mass assembly histories of model galaxies stem from different assumptions for the outflow mass-loading factor produced by feedback. Importantly, while more accurate observational measurements for stellar mass, SFR and metallicity of galaxies at 1 < z < 5 will discriminate between models, the discrepancies between the constrained models and existing data of these observables have already revealed challenging problems in understanding star formation and its feedback in galaxy formation. The three sets of models are being used to construct catalogs of mock galaxies on light cones that have the same geometry as the CANDELS survey, which should be particularly useful for quantifying the biases and uncertainties on measurements and inferences from the real observations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2014; 795(2):123. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/795/2/123 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the relationship between the structure and star-formation rate (SFR) of X-ray selected low and moderate luminosity active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in the two Chandra Deep Fields, using Hubble Space Telescope imaging from the Cosmic Assembly Near Infrared Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) and deep far-infrared maps from the PEP+GOODS-Herschel survey. We derive detailed distributions of structural parameters and FIR luminosities from carefully constructed control samples of galaxies, which we then compare to those of the AGNs. At z~1, AGNs show slightly diskier light profiles than massive inactive (non-AGN) galaxies, as well as modestly higher levels of gross galaxy disturbance (as measured by visual signatures of interactions and clumpy structure). In contrast, at z~2, AGNs show similar levels of galaxy disturbance as inactive galaxies, but display a red central light enhancement, which may arise due to a more pronounced bulge in AGN hosts or due to extinguished nuclear light. We undertake a number of tests of these alternatives, but our results do not strongly favour one interpretation over the other. The mean SFR and its distribution among AGNs and inactive galaxies are similar at z>1.5. At z<1, however, clear and significant enhancements are seen in the SFRs of AGNs with bulge-dominated light profiles. These trends suggest an evolution in the relation between nuclear activity and host properties with redshift, towards a minor role for mergers and interactions at z>1.5.
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    ABSTRACT: The SAMI Galaxy Survey will observe 3400 galaxies with the Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral-field spectrograph (SAMI) on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in a 3-year survey which began in 2013. We present the throughput of the SAMI system, the science basis and specifications for the target selection, the survey observation plan and the combined properties of the selected galaxies. The survey includes four volume limited galaxy samples based on cuts in a proxy for stellar mass, along with low-stellar mass dwarf galaxies all selected from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey. The GAMA regions were selected because of the vast array of ancillary data available, including ultraviolet through to radio bands. These fields are on the celestial equator at 9, 12, and 14.5 hours, and cover a total of 144 square degrees (in GAMA-I). Higher density environments are also included with the addition of eight clusters. The clusters have spectroscopy from 2dFGRS and SDSS and photometry in regions covered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and/or VLT Survey Telescope/ATLAS. The aim is to cover a broad range in stellar mass and environment, and therefore the primary survey targets cover redshifts 0.004 < z < 0.095, magnitudes r$_{pet}$ < 19.4, stellar masses $10^{7} - 10^{12}$ M$_{sol}$, and environments from isolated field galaxies through groups to clusters of $10^{15}$ M$_{sol}$.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent observations have probed the formation histories of nearby elliptical galaxies by tracking correlations between the stellar population parameters, age and metallicity, and the structural parameters that enter the Fundamental Plane, radius and velocity dispersion sigma. These studies have found intriguing correlations between these four parameters. In this work, we make use of a semi-analytic model, based on halo merger trees extracted from the Bolshoi cosmological simulation, that predicts the structural properties of spheroid-dominated galaxies based on an analytic model that has been tested and calibrated against an extensive suite of hydrodynamic+N-body binary merger simulations. We predict the radius, sigma, luminosity, age, and metallicity of spheroid-dominated galaxies, enabling us to compare directly to observations. Our model predicts a strong correlation between age and sigma for early-type galaxies, and no significant correlation between age and radius, in agreement with observations. In addition we predict a strong correlation between metallicity and sigma, and a weak correlation between metallicity and radius, in qualitative agreement with observations. We find that the correlations with sigma arise as a result of the strong link between sigma and the galaxy assembly time. Minor mergers produce a large change in radius while leaving sigma nearly the same, which explains the weaker trends with radius.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2014; 445(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1701 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present significant improvements in cosmic distance measurements from the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey, achieved by applying the reconstruction of the baryonic acoustic feature technique. We show using both data and simulations that the reconstruction technique can often be effective despite patchiness of the survey, significant edge effects and shot-noise. We investigate three redshift bins in the redshift range 0.2 < z < 1, and in all three find improvement after reconstruction in the detection of the baryonic acoustic feature and its usage as a standard ruler. We measure model-independent distance measures DV(rsfid/rs) of 1716 ± 83, 2221 ± 101, 2516 ± 86 Mpc (68 per cent CL) at effective redshifts z = 0.44, 0.6, 0.73, respectively, where DV is the volume-averaged distance, and rs is the sound horizon at the end of the baryon drag epoch. These significantly improved 4.8, 4.5 and 3.4 per cent accuracy measurements are equivalent to those expected from surveys with up to 2.5 times the volume of WiggleZ without reconstruction applied. These measurements are fully consistent with cosmologies allowed by the analyses of the Planck Collaboration and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We provide the DV(rsfid/rs) posterior probability distributions and their covariances. When combining these measurements with temperature fluctuations measurements of Planck, the polarization of Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe 9, and the 6dF Galaxy Survey baryonic acoustic feature, we do not detect deviations from a flat Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model. Assuming this model, we constrain the current expansion rate to H0 = 67.15 ± 0.98 km s-1Mpc-1. Allowing the equation of state of dark energy to vary, we obtain wDE = -1.080 ± 0.135. When assuming a curved ΛCDM model we obtain a curvature value of ΩK = -0.0043 ± 0.0047.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Gigaparsec WiggleZ (GiggleZ) simulation suite and use this resource to characterise the effects of galaxy bias and its scale dependence on the two point correlation function of dark matter halos for a range of redshifts (z~1.2) and dark matter halo masses (100[km/s]<V_max<700[km/s]) in a standard cosmology. Under the ansatz that bias converges to a scale independent form at large scales, we develop an 8-parameter model which fully expresses the mass and redshift dependence of bias and its scale dependence in real or redshift space. Lastly, we use this fitting formula to illustrate how scale-dependent bias can systematically skew measurements of the growth-rate of cosmic structure as obtained from redshift-space distortion measurements. When data is fit only to scales less than k_max=0.1 [h/Mpc], we find that scale dependent bias effects are significant only for large biases (b>~3) at large redshifts (z>~1). However, when smaller scales are incorporated (k_max>~0.2 [h/Mpc]), the combination of reduced statistical uncertainties and increased scale dependent bias effects can result in highly significant systematics for most large halos across all redshifts. We identify several new interesting aspects of scale dependent bias, including a significant halo bias boost for small halos at low-redshifts due to substructure effects (approximately 20% for Milky Way-like systems) and a halo mass that is nearly independent of redshift (corresponding to a redshift-space bias of approximately 1.5 at all redshifts) for which halo bias has no scale dependence on scales greater than 3 [Mpc/h]. This suggests an optimal strategy of targeting bias ~1.5 systems for clustering studies which are dominated more by systematic effects than statistical precision, such as cosmological measurements of neutrino masses. Code for generating our fitting formula has been made publicly available.
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    ABSTRACT: Many techniques have been used in the literature for determining which particles or cells in a hydrodynamic simulation are attached to a galaxy. Often these invoke a spherical aperture that defines the boundary between the galaxy and the rest of its parent (sub)halo, sometimes coupled with, or alternatively involving, the use of a subhalo finder and gas property restrictions. Using the suite of high-resolution zoom re-simulations of individual haloes by Martig et al., and the large-scale simulation MassiveBlack-II, we examine the differences in measured galaxy properties from techniques with various aperture definitions. We perform techniques popular in the literature and present a new technique of our own, based on the baryonic mass profiles of simulated (sub)haloes. For the average Milky-Way-mass system, we find the two most popular techniques in the literature return differences of order 30 per cent for stellar mass, a factor of 3 for gas mass, 40 per cent for star formation rate, and factors of several for gas accretion and ejection rates. Individual cases can show variations greater than this, with the severity dependent on the concentration of a given system. The average difference in integrated properties for a more general galaxy population are not as striking, but are still significant for stellar and gas mass. The large differences that can occur are problematic for comparing results from various publications. We stress the importance of both defining and justifying a technique choice and discourage using popular apertures that use an exact fraction of the virial radius, due to the unignorable variation in galaxy-to-(sub)halo size. Finally, we note that technique choice does not greatly affect simulated galaxies from lying within the scatter of observed scaling relations, but it can alter the derived best-fit slope for the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the relationship between active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity and host galaxy properties using a sample of massive galaxies at z ̃ 2 in the Chandra Deep Field-South (CDFS). A sample of 268 galaxies with M* > 1010.5 M☉ at 1.4 < z < 3 are selected from Hubble Space Telescope wide field camera 3 (WFC3) H-band observations in CDFS taken as part of the cosmic assembly near-infrared deep extragalactic legacy survey (CANDELS) survey. We find that a large fraction (22.0 ± 2.5 per cent) are detected in the 4 Ms Chandra/Advanced CCD Image Spectrometer observations in the field, implying a high AGN content in these massive galaxies. To investigate further the relationship between these AGN and their hosts, we create four subsamples, based on their star formation rates (star-forming versus quiescent) and galaxy size (compact versus extended), following Barro et al. and perform X-ray spectral fitting. We find a clear effect whereby the AGN in compact galaxies - be they star forming or quiescent - show significantly higher luminosities and levels of obscuration than the AGN in extended galaxies. These results provide clear evidence for two modes of black hole growth in massive galaxies at high redshift. The dominant growth mode is a luminous, obscured phase which occurs overwhelmingly in compact galaxies while another lower luminosity, unobscured phase is predominantly seen in extended galaxies. Both modes could produce AGN feedback, with violent transformative feedback in the former and a gentler `maintenance mode' produced by the latter.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2014; 440(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu517 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We introduce the Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO), an online virtual laboratory that houses mock observations of galaxy survey data. Such mocks have become an integral part of the modern analysis pipeline. However, building them requires an expert knowledge of galaxy modelling and simulation techniques, significant investment in software development, and access to high performance computing. These requirements make it difficult for a small research team or individual to quickly build a mock catalogue suited to their needs. To address this TAO offers access to multiple cosmological simulations and semi-analytic galaxy formation models from an intuitive and clean web interface. Results can be funnelled through science modules and sent to a dedicated supercomputer for further processing and manipulation. These modules include the ability to (1) construct custom observer light-cones from the simulation data cubes; (2) generate the stellar emission from star formation histories, apply dust extinction, and compute absolute and/or apparent magnitudes; and (3) produce mock images of the sky. All of TAO's features can be accessed without any programming requirements. The modular nature of TAO opens it up for further expansion in the future.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper is the first in a series in which we perform an extensive comparison of various galaxy-based cluster mass estimation techniques that utilise the positions, velocities and colours of galaxies. Our primary aim is to test the performance of these cluster mass estimation techniques on a diverse set of models that will increase in complexity. We begin by providing participating methods with data from a simple model that delivers idealised clusters, enabling us to quantify the underlying scatter intrinsic to these mass estimation techniques. The mock catalogue is based on a Halo Occupation Distribution (HOD) model that assumes spherical Navarro, Frenk and White (NFW) haloes truncated at R_200, with no substructure nor colour segregation, and with isotropic, isothermal Maxwellian velocities. We find that, above 10^14 M_solar, recovered cluster masses are correlated with the true underlying cluster mass with an intrinsic scatter of typically a factor of two. Below 10^14 M_solar, the scatter rises as the number of member galaxies drops and rapidly approaches an order of magnitude. We find that richness-based methods deliver the lowest scatter, but it is not clear whether such accuracy may simply be the result of using an over-simplistic model to populate the galaxies in their haloes. Even when given the true cluster membership, large scatter is observed for the majority non-richness-based approaches, suggesting that mass reconstruction with a low number of dynamical tracers is inherently problematic.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2014; 441(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu545 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As synoptic all-sky surveys begin to discover new multiply lensed quasars, the flow of data will enable statistical cosmological microlensing studies of sufficient size to constrain quasar accretion disc and supermassive black hole properties. In preparation for this new era, we are undertaking the GPU-Enabled, High Resolution cosmological MicroLensing parameter survey (GERLUMPH). We present here the GERLUMPH Data Release 1, which consists of 12342 high resolution cosmological microlensing magnification maps and provides the first uniform coverage of the convergence, shear and smooth matter fraction parameter space. We use these maps to perform a comprehensive numerical investigation of the mass-sheet degeneracy, finding excellent agreement with its predictions. We study the effect of smooth matter on microlensing induced magnification fluctuations. In particular, in the minima and saddle-point regions, fluctuations are enhanced only along the critical line, while in the maxima region they are always enhanced for high smooth matter fractions (~0.9). We describe our approach to data management, including the use of an SQL database with a Web interface for data access and online analysis, obviating the need for individuals to download large volumes of data. In combination with existing observational databases and online applications, the GERLUMPH archive represents a fundamental component of a new microlensing eResearch cloud. Our maps and tools are publicly available at http://gerlumph.swin.edu.au/.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 01/2014; 211(1). DOI:10.1088/0067-0049/211/1/16 · 14.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The processes that trigger Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) remain poorly understood. While lower luminosity AGN may be triggered by minor disturbances to the host galaxy, stronger disturbances are likely required to trigger luminous AGN. Major wet mergers of galaxies are ideal environments for AGN triggering since they provide large gas supplies and galaxy scale torques. There is however little observational evidence for a strong connection between AGN and major mergers. We analyse the morphological properties of AGN host galaxies as a function of AGN and host galaxy luminosity and compare them to a carefully matched sample of control galaxies. AGN are X-ray selected in the redshift range 0.5 < z < 0.8 and have luminosities 41 < log(L_X [erg/s]) < 44.5. 'Fake AGN' are simulated in the control galaxies by adding point sources with the magnitude of the matched AGN. We find that AGN host and control galaxies have comparable assymetries, Sersic indices and ellipticities at restframe ~950nm. AGN host galaxies show neither higher average asymmetries nor higher fractions of very disturbed objects. There is no increase in the prevalence of merger signatures with AGN luminosity. At 95% confidence we find that major mergers are responsible for <6% of all AGN in our sample as well as <40% of the highest luminosity AGN log(L_X [erg/s]) ~ 43.5). Major mergers therefore either play only a very minor role in the triggering of AGN in the luminosity range studied or time delays are too long for merger features to remain visible.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2014; 439(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu173 · 5.23 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.
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    ABSTRACT: We compare the predictions of three independently developed semi-analytic galaxy formation models that are being used to aid in the interpretation of results from the CANDELS survey. These models are each applied to the same set of halo merger trees extracted from the "Bolshoi" simulation and are carefully tuned to match the local galaxy stellar mass function using the powerful method of Bayesian Inference coupled with MCMC or by hand. The comparisons reveal that in spite of the significantly different parameterizations for star formation and feedback processes, the three models yield qualitatively similar predictions for the assembly histories of galaxy stellar mass and star formation over cosmic time. We show that the SAMs generally require strong outflows to suppress star formation in low-mass halos to match the present day stellar mass function. However, all of the models considered produce predictions for the star formation rates and metallicities of low-mass galaxies that are inconsistent with existing data and diverge between the models. We suggest that large differences in the metallicity relations and small differences in the stellar mass assembly histories of model galaxies stem from different assumptions for the outflow mass-loading factor. Importantly, while more accurate observational measurements for stellar mass, SFR and metallicity of galaxies at 1<z<5 will discriminate between models, the discrepancies between the models and existing data of these observables have already revealed challenging problems in understanding star formation and its feedback in galaxy formation. The three sets of models are being used to construct catalogs of mock galaxies on light cones that have the same geometry as the CANDELS survey, which should be particularly useful for quantifying the biases and uncertainties on measurements and inferences from the real observations. -ABRIDGED
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the star-forming and structural properties of 45 massive (log(M/Msun)>10) compact star-forming galaxies (SFGs) at 2<z<3 to explore whether they are progenitors of compact quiescent galaxies at z~2. The optical/NIR and far-IR Spitzer/Herschel colors indicate that most compact SFGs are heavily obscured. Nearly half (47%) host an X-ray bright AGN. In contrast, only about 10% of other massive galaxies at that time host AGNs. Compact SFGs have centrally-concentrated light profiles and spheroidal morphologies similar to quiescent galaxies, and are thus strikingly different from other SFGs. Most compact SFGs lie either within the SFR-M main sequence (65%) or below (30%), on the expected evolutionary path towards quiescent galaxies. These results show conclusively that galaxies become more compact before they lose their gas and dust, quenching star formation. Using extensive HST photometry from CANDELS and grism spectroscopy from the 3D-HST survey, we model their stellar populations with either exponentially declining (tau) star formation histories (SFHs) or physically-motivated SFHs drawn from semi-analytic models (SAMs). SAMs predict longer formation timescales and older ages ~2 Gyr, which are nearly twice as old as the estimates of the tau models. While both models yield good SED fits, SAM SFHs better match the observed slope and zero point of the SFR-M main sequence. Some low-mass compact SFGs (log(M/Msun)=10-10.6) have younger ages but lower sSFRs than that of more massive galaxies, suggesting that the low-mass galaxies reach the red sequence faster. If the progenitors of compact SFGs are extended SFGs, state-of-the-art SAMs show that mergers and disk instabilities are both able to shrink galaxies, but disk instabilities are more frequent (60% versus 40%) and form more concentrated galaxies. We confirm this result via high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations.

Publication Stats

7k Citations
490.99 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2015
    • Swinburne University of Technology
      • Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2013
    • Aix-Marseille Université
      • Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille (UMR 7326 LAM)
      Marsiglia, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • 2005–2009
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Nottingham
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004–2005
    • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2003
    • Australian National University
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia