Ivelina Momcheva

Leiden University, Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (78)337.76 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of photometric redshift accuracy in the 3D-HST photometric catalogs, using 3D-HST grism redshifts to quantify and dissect trends in redshift accuracy for galaxies brighter than $H_{F140W}<24$ with an unprecedented and representative high-redshift galaxy sample. We find an average scatter of $0.0197\pm0.0003(1+z)$ in the Skelton et al. (2014) photometric redshifts. Photometric redshift accuracy decreases with magnitude and redshift, but does not vary monotonically with color or stellar mass. The 1-$\sigma$ scatter lies between $0.01-0.03$(1+z) for galaxies of all masses and colors below $z<2.5$ (for $H_{F140W}{<}24$), with the exception of a population of very red ($U-V > 2$), dusty star-forming galaxies for which the scatter increases to $\sim0.1(1+z)$. Although the overall photometric redshift accuracy for quiescent galaxies is better than for star-forming galaxies, scatter depends more strongly on magnitude and redshift than on galaxy type. We verify these trends using the redshift distributions of close pairs and extend the analysis to fainter objects, where photometric redshift errors further increase to $\sim0.046(1+z)$ at $H_{F160W}=26$. We demonstrate that photometric redshift accuracy is strongly filter-dependent and quantify the contribution of multiple filter combinations. We evaluate the widths of redshift probability distribution functions and find that error estimates are underestimated by a factor of $\sim1.1-1.6$, but that uniformly broadening the distribution does not adequately account for fitting outliers. Finally, we suggest possible applications of these data in planning for current and future surveys and simulate photometric redshift performance in the LSST, DES, and combined DES and VHS surveys.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the angular momenta of massive star forming galaxies (SFGs) at the peak of the cosmic star formation epoch (z~0.8-2.6). Our sample of ~360 log(M*/Msun) ~ 9.3-11.8 SFGs is mainly based on the KMOS^3D and SINS/zC-SINF surveys of H\alpha\ kinematics, and collectively provides a representative subset of the massive star forming population. The inferred halo scale, angular momentum distribution is broadly consistent with that theoretically predicted for their dark matter halos, in terms of mean spin parameter <\lambda> ~ 0.037 and its dispersion ($\sigma_{log(\lambda)}$~0.2). Spin parameters correlate with the disk radial scale, and with their stellar surface density, but do not depend significantly on halo mass, stellar mass, or redshift. Our data thus support the long-standing assumption that on average the specific angular momentum of early disks reflects that of their dark matter halos (jd = jDM), despite the fact that gas enters the virial radius with substantially higher angular momentum, requiring subsequent angular momentum redistribution. The lack of correlation between \lambda x (jd/jDM) and the nuclear stellar density $\Sigma_{*}$(1kpc) favors that disk-internal angular momentum redistribution leads to "compaction" inside massive high-z disks. The average disk to dark halo mass ratio is ~5%, consistent with recent abundance matching results and implying that our high-z disks are strongly baryon dominated.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We present reduced data and data products from the 3D-HST survey, a 248-orbit HST Treasury program. The survey obtained WFC3 G141 grism spectroscopy in four of the five CANDELS fields: AEGIS, COSMOS, GOODS-S, and UDS, along with WFC3 $H_{140}$ imaging, parallel ACS G800L spectroscopy, and parallel $I_{814}$ imaging. In a previous paper (Skelton et al. 2014) we presented photometric catalogs in these four fields and in GOODS-N, the fifth CANDELS field. Here we describe and present the WFC3 G141 spectroscopic data, again augmented with data from GO-1600 in GOODS-N. The data analysis is complicated by the fact that no slits are used: all objects in the WFC3 field are dispersed, and many spectra overlap. We developed software to automatically and optimally extract interlaced 2D and 1D spectra for all objects in the Skelton et al. (2014) photometric catalogs. The 2D spectra and the multi-band photometry were fit simultaneously to determine redshifts and emission line strengths, taking the morphology of the galaxies explicitly into account. The resulting catalog has 98,663 measured redshifts and line strengths down to $JH_{IR}\leq 26$ and 22,548 with $JH_{IR}\leq 24$, where we comfortably detect continuum emission. Of this sample 5,459 galaxies are at $z>1.5$ and 9,621 are at $0.7<z<1.5$, where H$\alpha$ falls in the G141 wavelength coverage. Based on comparisons with ground-based spectroscopic redshifts, and on analyses of paired galaxies and repeat observations, the typical redshift error for $JH_{IR}\leq 24$ galaxies in our catalog is $\sigma_z \approx 0.003 \times (1+z)$, i.e., one native WFC3 pixel. The $3\sigma$ limit for emission line fluxes of point sources is $1.5\times10^{-17}$ ergs s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$. We show various representations of the full dataset, as well as individual examples that highlight the range of spectra that we find in the survey.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: It is well established that (1) star-forming galaxies follow a relation between their star formation rate (SFR) and stellar mass (M$_{\star}$), the "star-formation sequence", and (2) the SFRs of galaxies correlate with their structure, where star-forming galaxies are less concentrated than quiescent galaxies at fixed mass. Here, we consider whether the scatter and slope of the star-formation sequence is correlated with systematic variations in the Sersic indices, $n$, of galaxies across the SFR-M$_{\star}$ plane. We use a mass-complete sample of 23,848 galaxies at $0.5<z<2.5$ selected from the 3D-HST photometric catalogs. Galaxy light profiles parameterized by $n$ are based on Hubble Space Telescope CANDELS near-infrared imaging. We use a single SFR indicator empirically-calibrated from stacks of Spitzer/MIPS 24$\mu$m imaging, adding the unobscured and obscured star formation. We find that the scatter of the star-formation sequence is related in part to galaxy structure; the scatter due to variations in $n$ at fixed mass for star-forming galaxies ranges from 0.14$\pm$0.02 dex at $z\sim2$ to 0.30$\pm$0.04 dex at $z<1$. While the slope of the log(SFR)-log(M$_{\star}$) relation is of order unity for disk-like galaxies, galaxies with $n>2$ (implying more dominant bulges) have significantly lower SFR/M$_{\star}$ than the main ridgeline of the star-formation sequence. These results suggest that bulges in massive $z\sim2$ galaxies are actively building up, where the stars in the central concentration are relatively young. At $z<1$, the presence of older bulges within star-forming galaxies lowers global SFR/M$_{\star}$, decreasing the slope and contributing significantly to the scatter of the star-formation sequence.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We spectroscopically survey the galaxy cluster XMM-LSS J02182-05102 (hereafter IRC 0218) using LRIS (optical) and MOSFIRE (near-infrared) on Keck I as part of the ZFIRE survey. IRC 0218 has a narrow redshift range of $1.612<z_{\rm spec}<1.635$ defined by 33 members of which 20 are at R$_{\rm proj}<1$ Mpc. The cluster redshift and velocity dispersion are $z_{\rm cl}=1.6233\pm0.0003$ and $\sigma_{\rm cl}=254\pm50$ km s$^{-1}$. We reach NIR line sensitivities of $\sim0.3\times10^{-17}$ erg s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$ that, combined with multi-wavelength photometry, provide extinction-corrected H$\alpha$ star formation rates (SFR), gas phase metallicities from [NII]/H$\alpha$, and stellar masses. We measure an integrated H$\alpha$ SFR of $\sim325{\rm M}_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$ (26 members; R$_{\rm proj}<2$ Mpc) and show that the elevated star formation in the cluster core (R$_{\rm proj}<0.25$ Mpc) is driven by the concentration of star-forming members, but the average SFR per H$\alpha$-detected galaxy is half that of members at R$_{\rm proj}\sim1$ Mpc. However, we do not detect any environmental imprint when comparing attenuation and gas phase metallicities: the cluster galaxies show similar trends with M$_{\star}$ as to the field, e.g. more massive galaxies have larger stellar attenuation. IRC 0218's gas phase metallicity-M$_{\star}$ relation (MZR) is offset to lower metallicities relative to $z\sim0$ and has a slope of $0.13\pm0.10$. Comparing the MZR in IRC 0218 to the COSMOS cluster at $z=2.1$ shows no evolution ($\Delta t\sim1$ Gyr): the MZR for both galaxy clusters are remarkably consistent with each other and virtually identical to several field surveys at $z\sim2$.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present Ha maps at 1kpc spatial resolution for star-forming galaxies at z~1, made possible by the WFC3 grism on HST. Employing this capability over all five 3D-HST/CANDELS fields provides a sample of 2676 galaxies. By creating deep stacked Halpha (Ha) images, we reach surface brightness limits of 1x10^-18\erg\s\cm^2\arcsec^2, allowing us to map the distribution of ionized gas out to >10kpc for typical L* galaxies at this epoch. We find that the spatial extent of the Ha distribution increases with stellar mass as r(Ha)[kpc]=1.5(Mstars/10^10Msun)^0.23. Furthermore, the Ha emission is more extended than the stellar continuum emission, consistent with inside-out assembly of galactic disks. This effect, however, is mass dependent with r(Ha)/r(stars)=1.1(M/10^10Msun)^0.054, such that at low masses r(Ha)~r(stars). We map the Ha distribution as a function of SFR(IR+UV) and find evidence for `coherent star formation' across the SFR-M plane: above the main sequence, Ha is enhanced at all radii; below the main sequence, Ha is depressed at all radii. This suggests that at all masses the physical processes driving the enhancement or suppression of star formation act throughout the disks of galaxies. It also confirms that the scatter in the star forming main sequence is real and caused by variations in the star formation rate at fixed mass. At high masses (10^10.5<M/Msun<10^11), above the main sequence, Ha is particularly enhanced in the center, plausibly building bulges and/or supermassive black holes. Below the main sequence, the star forming disks are more compact and a strong central dip in the EW(Ha), and the inferred specific star formation rate, appears. Importantly though, across the entirety of the SFR-M plane, the absolute star formation rate as traced by Ha is always centrally peaked, even in galaxies below the main sequence.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We present the KMOS (K-band Multi-Object Spectrograph) Cluster and VIRIAL (VLT IRIFU Absorption Line) Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) programs. KMOS provides 24 arms each feeding an integral field unit (14×14 spaxels of 0.2″ pixels) for IZ, YJ, H and K band near infrared (NIR) medium resolution spectroscopy (R ∼ 3500). Targets are selected from a 7.2′ diameter patrol field. Ultra-deep spectroscopy of ∼ 80 early-type cluster galaxies (∼ 20hr on source) and ∼ 200 (∼ 10hr on source) early-type field galaxies at 1 < z < 2 will dramatically improve the situation at z > 1 for which measurements of stellar velocity dispersions and absorption indices are limited to a few, often relatively young passively evolving galaxies (e.g. Bezanson 2013). In ESO Periods P92 and P93, 15 nights worth of data has been collected for KMOS-Clusters and 6 nights for VIRIAL: this will be supplemented with more data in upcoming semesters. All galaxies have multiband HST imaging including existing or upcoming WFC3 IR imaging, providing stellar mass maps and sizes. Combined with our dispersion measurements, this will allow us to examine the fundamental plane and the dynamical mass of a large sample of z > 1 galaxies for the first time, for both cluster and field galaxies.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we study a key phase in the formation of massive galaxies: the transition of star forming galaxies into massive (M_stars~10^11 Msun), compact (r_e~1 kpc) quiescent galaxies, which takes place from z~3 to z~1.5. We use HST grism redshifts and extensive photometry in all five 3D-HST/CANDELS fields, more than doubling the area used previously for such studies, and combine these data with Keck MOSFIRE and NIRSPEC spectroscopy. We first confirm that a population of massive, compact, star forming galaxies exists at z~2, using K-band spectroscopy of 25 of these objects at 2.0<z<2.5. They have a median NII/Halpha ratio of 0.6, are highly obscured with SFR(tot)/SFR(Halpha)~10, and have a large range of observed velocity dispersions. We infer from the kinematics and spatial distribution of Halpha that the galaxies have rotating disks of ionized gas that are a factor of ~2 more extended than the stellar distribution. By combining measurements of individual galaxies, we find that the kinematics are consistent with a Keplerian fall-off from V_rot~500 km/s at 1 kpc to V_rot~250 km/s at 7 kpc, and that the total mass out to this radius is dominated by the dense stellar component. Next, we study the size and mass evolution of the progenitors of compact massive galaxies. Even though individual galaxies may have had complex histories with periods of compaction and mergers, we show that the population of progenitors likely followed a simple inside-out growth track in the size-mass plane of d(log r_e) ~ 0.3 d(log M_stars). This mode of growth gradually increases the stellar mass within a fixed physical radius, and galaxies quench when they reach a stellar density or velocity dispersion threshold. As shown in other studies, the mode of growth changes after quenching, as dry mergers take the galaxies on a relatively steep track in the size-mass plane.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the stellar populations of 25 massive, galaxies ($\log[M_\ast/M_\odot] \geq 10.9$) at $1.5 < z < 2$ using data obtained with the K-band Multi-Object Spectrograph (KMOS) on the ESO VLT. Targets were selected to be quiescent based on their broadband colors and redshifts using data from the 3D-HST grism survey. The mean redshift of our sample is $\bar{z} = 1.75$, where KMOS YJ-band data probe age- and metallicity-sensitive absorption features in the rest-frame optical, including the $G$ band, Fe I, and high-order Balmer lines. Fitting simple stellar population models to a stack of our KMOS spectra, we derive a mean age of $1.03^{+0.13}_{-0.08}$ Gyr. We confirm previous results suggesting a correlation between color and age for quiescent galaxies, finding mean ages of $1.22^{+0.56}_{-0.19}$ Gyr and $0.85^{+0.08}_{-0.05}$ Gyr for the reddest and bluest galaxies in our sample. Combining our KMOS measurements with those obtained from previous studies at $0.2 < z < 2$ we find evidence for a $2-3$ Gyr spread in the formation epoch of massive galaxies. At $z < 1$ the measured stellar ages are consistent with passive evolution, while at $1 < z \lesssim2$ they appear to saturate at $\sim$1 Gyr, which likely reflects changing demographics of the (mean) progenitor population. By comparing to star-formation histories inferred for "normal" star-forming galaxies, we show that the timescales required to form massive galaxies at $z \gtrsim 1.5$ are consistent with the enhanced $\alpha$-element abundances found in massive local early-type galaxies.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We present the spectroscopic redshift catalog from a wide-field survey of the fields of 28 galaxy-mass strong gravitational lenses. We discuss the acquisition and reduction of the survey data, collected over 40 nights of 6.5m MMT and Magellan time, employing four different multi-object spectrographs. We determine that no biases are introduced by combining datasets obtained with different instrument/spectrograph combinations. Special care is taken to determine redshift uncertainties using repeat observations. The redshift catalog consists of 9768 new and unique galaxy redshifts. 82.4% of the catalog redshifts are between z=0.1 and z=0.7, and the catalog median redshift is z=0.36. The data from this survey will be used to study the lens environments and line-of-sight structures to gain a better understanding of the effects of large scale structure on lens statistics and lens-derived parameters.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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    ABSTRACT: We present a spectroscopic redshift measurement of a very bright Lyman break galaxy at z=7.7302+-0.0006 using Keck/MOSFIRE. The source was pre-selected photometrically in the EGS field as a robust z~8 candidate with H=25.0 mag based on optical non-detections and a very red Spitzer/IRAC [3.6]-[4.5] broad-band color driven by high equivalent width [OIII]+Hbeta line emission. The Lyalpha line is reliably detected at >6 sigma and shows an asymmetric profile as expected for a galaxy embedded in a relatively neutral inter-galactic medium near the Planck peak of cosmic reionization. The line has a rest-frame equivalent width of EW0=21+-4 A and is extended with V_FWHM=376+89-70 km/s. The source is perhaps the brightest and most massive z~8 Lyman break galaxy in the full CANDELS and BoRG/HIPPIES surveys, having assembled already 10^(9.9+-0.2) M_sol of stars at only 650 Myr after the Big Bang. The spectroscopic redshift measurement sets a new redshift record for galaxies. This enables reliable constraints on the stellar mass, star-formation rate, formation epoch, as well as combined [OIII]+Hbeta line equivalent widths. The redshift confirms that the IRAC [4.5] photometry is very likely dominated by line emission with EW0(OIII+Hbeta)= 720-150+180 A. This detection thus adds to the evidence that extreme rest-frame optical emission lines are a ubiquitous feature of early galaxies promising very efficient spectroscopic follow-up in the future with infrared spectroscopy using JWST and, later, ELTs.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The Nilsson et al. (2006) Lyman-alpha nebula has often been cited as the most plausible example of a Lyman-alpha nebula powered by gravitational cooling. In this paper, we bring together new data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory as well as comparisons to recent theoretical simulations in order to revisit the questions of the local environment and most likely power source for the Lyman-alpha nebula. In contrast to previous results, we find that this Lyman-alpha nebula is associated with 6 nearby galaxies and an obscured AGN that is offset by $\sim$4"$\approx$30 kpc from the Lyman-alpha peak. The local region is overdense relative to the field, by a factor of $\sim$10, and at low surface brightness levels the Lyman-alpha emission appears to encircle the position of the obscured AGN, highly suggestive of a physical association. At the same time, we confirm that there is no compact continuum source located within $\sim$2-3"$\approx$15-23 kpc of the Lyman-alpha peak. Since the latest cold accretion simulations predict that the brightest Lyman-alpha emission will be coincident with a central growing galaxy, we conclude that this is actually a strong argument against, rather than for, the idea that the nebula is gravitationally-powered. While we may be seeing gas within cosmic filaments, this gas is primarily being lit up, not by gravitational energy, but due to illumination from a nearby buried AGN.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we present the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey. The MOSDEF survey aims to obtain moderate-resolution (R=3000-3650) rest-frame optical spectra (~3700-7000 Angstrom) for ~1500 galaxies at 1.37<z<3.80 in three well-studied CANDELS fields: AEGIS, COSMOS, and GOODS-N. Targets are selected in three redshift intervals: 1.37<z<1.70, 2.09<z<2.61, and 2.95<z<3.80, down to fixed H_AB (F160W) magnitudes of 24.0, 24.5 and 25.0, respectively, using the photometric and spectroscopic catalogs from the 3D-HST survey. We target both strong nebular emission lines (e.g., [OII], Hbeta, [OIII], 5008, Halpha, [NII], and [SII]) and stellar continuum and absorption features (e.g., Balmer lines, Ca-II H and K, Mgb, 4000 Angstrom break). Here we present an overview of our survey, the observational strategy, the data reduction and analysis, and the sample characteristics based on spectra obtained during the first 24 nights. To date, we have completed 21 masks, obtaining spectra for 591 galaxies. For ~80% of the targets we identify and measure multiple emission or absorption lines. In addition, we confirm 55 additional galaxies, which were serendipitously detected. The MOSDEF galaxy sample includes unobscured star-forming, dusty star-forming, and quiescent galaxies and spans a wide range in stellar mass (~10^9-10^11.5 Msol) and star formation rate (~0-10^4 Msol/yr). The spectroscopically confirmed sample is roughly representative of an H-band limited galaxy sample at these redshifts. With its large sample size, broad diversity in galaxy properties, and wealth of available ancillary data, MOSDEF will transform our understanding of the stellar, gaseous, metal, dust, and black hole content of galaxies during the time when the universe was most active.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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    ABSTRACT: Interpreting observations of distant galaxies in terms of constraints on physical parameters – such as stellar mass (M★), star formation rate (SFR) and dust optical depth (${\hat{\tau }_{V}}$) – requires spectral synthesis modelling. We analyse the reliability of these physical parameters as determined under commonly adopted ‘classical’ assumptions: star formation histories assumed to be exponentially declining functions of time, a simple dust law and no emission-line contribution. Improved modelling techniques and data quality now allow us to use a more sophisticated approach, including realistic star formation histories, combined with modern prescriptions for dust attenuation and nebular emission. We present a Bayesian analysis of the spectra and multiwavelength photometry of 1048 galaxies from the 3D-HST survey in the redshift range 0.7 < z < 2.8 and in the stellar mass range 9 ≲ log (M★/M⊙) ≲ 12. We find that, using the classical spectral library, stellar masses are systematically overestimated (∼0.1 dex) and SFRs are systematically underestimated (∼0.6 dex) relative to our more sophisticated approach. We also find that the simultaneous fit of photometric fluxes and emission-line equivalent widths helps break a degeneracy between SFR and ${\hat{\tau }_{V}}$, reducing the uncertainties on these parameters. Finally, we show how the biases of classical approaches can affect the correlation between M★ and SFR for star-forming galaxies (the ‘star-formation main sequence’). We conclude that the normalization, slope and scatter of this relation strongly depend on the adopted approach and demonstrate that the classical, oversimplified approach cannot recover the true distribution of M★ and SFR.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we follow up on our previous detection of nuclear ionized outflows in the most massive (log(M */M ☉) ≥ 10.9) z ~ 1-3 star-forming galaxies by increasing the sample size by a factor of six (to 44 galaxies above log(M */M ☉) ≥ 10.9) from a combination of the SINS/zC-SINF, LUCI, GNIRS, and KMOS3Dspectroscopic surveys. We find a fairly sharp onset of the incidence of broad nuclear emission (FWHM in the Hα, [N II], and [S II] lines ~450-5300 km s–1), with large [N II]/Hα ratios, above log(M */M ☉) ~ 10.9, with about two-thirds of the galaxies in this mass range exhibiting this component. Broad nuclear components near and above the Schechter mass are similarly prevalent above and below the main sequence of star-forming galaxies, and at z ~ 1 and ~2. The line ratios of the nuclear component are fit by excitation from active galactic nuclei (AGNs), or by a combination of shocks and photoionization. The incidence of the most massive galaxies with broad nuclear components is at least as large as that of AGNs identified by X-ray, optical, infrared, or radio indicators. The mass loading of the nuclear outflows is near unity. Our findings provide compelling evidence for powerful, high-duty cycle, AGN-driven outflows near the Schechter mass, and acting across the peak of cosmic galaxy formation.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Using a sample of 299 Ha-selected galaxies at z~0.8, we study the relationship between galaxy stellar mass, gas-phase metallicity, and star formation rate (SFR), and compare to previous results. We use deep optical spectra obtained with the IMACS spectrograph at the Magellan telescope to measure strong oxygen lines. We combine these spectra and metallicities with (1) rest-frame UV-to-optical imaging, which allows us to determine stellar masses and dust attenuation corrections, and (2) Ha narrowband imaging, which provides a robust measure of the instantaneous SFR. Our sample spans stellar masses of 10^9 to 6*10^11 solar masses, SFRs of 0.4 to 270 solar masses per year, and metal abundances of 12+log(O/H)~8.3-9.1 (~0.4-2.6 solar metallicity). The correlations that we find between the Ha-based SFR and stellar mass (i.e., the star-forming "main sequence"), and between the stellar mass and metallicity, are both consistent with previous z~1 studies of star-forming galaxies. We then study the relationship between the three properties using various plane-fitting techniques (Lara-Lopez et al.) and a curve-fitting projection (Mannucci et al.). In all cases, we exclude strong dependence of the M-Z relation on SFR, but are unable to distinguish between moderate and no dependence. Our results are consistent with previous mass-metallicity-SFR studies. We check whether dataset limitations may obscure a strong dependence on the SFR by using mock samples drawn from the SDSS. These experiments reveal that the adopted signal-to-noise cuts may have a significant effect on the measured dependence. Further work is needed to investigate these results, and to test whether a "fundamental metallicity relation" or a "fundamental plane" describes star-forming galaxies across cosmic time.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The Astronomical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present the KMOS^3D survey, a new integral field survey of over 600 galaxies at 0.7<z<2.7 using KMOS at the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The KMOS^3D survey utilizes synergies with multi-wavelength ground and space-based surveys to trace the evolution of spatially-resolved kinematics and star formation from a homogeneous sample over 5 Gyrs of cosmic history. Targets, drawn from a mass-selected parent sample from the 3D-HST survey, cover the star formation-stellar mass ($M_*$) and rest-frame $(U-V)-M_*$ planes uniformly. We describe the selection of targets, the observations, and the data reduction. In the first year of data we detect Halpha emission in 191 $M_*=3\times10^{9}-7\times10^{11}$ Msun galaxies at z=0.7-1.1 and z=1.9-2.7. In the current sample 83% of the resolved galaxies are rotation-dominated, determined from a continuous velocity gradient and $v_{rot}/\sigma>1$, implying that the star-forming 'main sequence' (MS) is primarily composed of rotating galaxies at both redshift regimes. When considering additional stricter criteria, the Halpha kinematic maps indicate at least ~70% of the resolved galaxies are disk-like systems. Our high-quality KMOS data confirm the elevated velocity dispersions reported in previous IFS studies at z>0.7. For rotation-dominated disks, the average intrinsic velocity dispersion decreases by a factor of two from 50 km/s at z~2.3 to 25 km/s at z~0.9 while the rotational velocities at the two redshifts are comparable. Combined with existing results spanning z~0-3, disk velocity dispersions follow an approximate (1+z) evolution that is consistent with the dependence of velocity dispersion on gas fractions predicted by marginally-stable disk theory.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The dense interiors of massive galaxies are among the most intriguing environments in the universe. In this paper,we ask when these dense cores were formed and determine how galaxies gradually assembled around them. We select galaxies that have a stellar mass >3 × 1010M ☉ inside r = 1 kpc out to z = 2.5, using the 3D-HST survey and data at low redshift. Remarkably, the number density of galaxies with dense cores appears to have decreased from z = 2.5 to the present. This decrease is probably mostly due to stellar mass loss and the resulting adiabatic expansion, with some contribution from merging. We infer that dense cores were mostly formed at z > 2.5, consistent with their largely quiescent stellar populations. While the cores appear to form early, the galaxies in which they reside show strong evolution: their total masses increase by a factor of 2-3 from z = 2.5 to z = 0 and their effective radii increase by a factor of 5-6. As a result, the contribution of dense cores to the total mass of the galaxies in which they reside decreases from ~50% at z = 2.5 to ~15% at z = 0. Because of their early formation, the contribution of dense cores to the total stellar mass budget of the universe is a strong function of redshift. The stars in cores with M 1 kpc > 3 × 1010M ☉ make up ~0.1% of the stellar mass density of the universe today but 10%-20% at z ~ 2, depending on their initial mass function. The formation of these cores required the conversion of ~1011M ☉ of gas into stars within ~1 kpc, while preventing significant star formation at larger radii.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We determine the intrinsic, 3-dimensional shape distribution of star-forming galaxies at 0<z<2.5, as inferred from their observed projected axis ratios. In the present-day universe star-forming galaxies of all masses 1e9 - 1e11 Msol are predominantly thin, nearly oblate disks, in line with previous studies. We now extend this to higher redshifts, and find that among massive galaxies (M* > 1e10 Msol) disks are the most common geometric shape at all z < 2. Lower-mass galaxies at z>1 possess a broad range of geometric shapes: the fraction of elongated (prolate) galaxies increases toward higher redshifts and lower masses. Galaxies with stellar mass 1e9 Msol (1e10 Msol) are a mix of roughly equal numbers of elongated and disk galaxies at z~1 (z~2). This suggests that galaxies in this mass range do not yet have disks that are sustained over many orbital periods, implying that galaxies with present-day stellar mass comparable to that of the Milky Way typically first formed such sustained stellar disks at redshift z~1.5-2. Combined with constraints on the evolution of the star formation rate density and the distribution of star formation over galaxies with different masses, our findings imply that, averaged over cosmic time, the majority of stars formed in disks.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Publication Stats

1k Citations
337.76 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Leiden University
      • Leiden Observartory
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2011-2015
    • Yale University
      • Department of Astronomy
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 2014
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • Academia Sinica
      • Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
    • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2010-2012
    • Carnegie Institute
      Pasadena, Texas, United States
  • 2009-2010
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 2008
    • University of Texas at Austin
      • Department of Astronomy
      Austin, Texas, United States
  • 2005-2008
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States