Alice E. Shapley

University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, United States

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Publications (198)

  • Irene Shivaei · Naveen Reddy · Alice Shapley · [...] · Mojegan Azadi
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results on the variation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) emission at 7.7 micron in galaxies spanning a wide range in metallicity at z~2. For this analysis, we use rest-frame optical spectra of 476 galaxies at 1.37$\leq z\leq$2.61 from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey to infer metallicities and ionization states. Spitzer/MIPS 24 micron observations are used to derive rest-frame 7.7 micron luminosities (L(7.7)) and far-IR data from Herschel/PACS 100 and 160 micron to measure total IR luminosities (L(IR)). We find significant trends between the ratio of L(7.7) to L(IR) (and to dust-corrected SFR) and both metallicity and [OIII]/[OII] (O$_{32}$) emission-line ratio. The latter is an empirical proxy for the ionization parameter. These trends indicate a paucity of PAH molecules in low metallicity environments with harder and more intense radiation fields. Additionally, L(7.7)/L(IR) is significantly lower in the youngest quartile in our sample (ages of ~ 400 Myr) compared to older galaxies, which may be a result of the delayed production of PAHs by AGB stars. The relative strength of L(7.7) to L(IR) is also lower by a factor of ~2 for galaxies with masses M$_*<10^{10} M_{\odot}$, compared to the more massive ones. We demonstrate that commonly-used conversions of L(7.7) (or 24 micron flux density; f(24)) to L(IR) underestimate the IR luminosity by more than a factor of 2 at M$_*$~$10^{9.6-10.0} M_{\odot}$. Consequently, the SFR-M$_*$ relation has a shallower slope than previously derived from studies that neglected the metallicity dependence of the 24 micron-to-IR conversion factor. Our results suggest a higher IR luminosity density at z~2 than previously measured, which corresponds to a ~ 30% increase in the SFR density.
    Article · Sep 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey on the identification, selection biases and host galaxy properties of 55 X-ray, IR and optically-selected active galactic nuclei (AGN) at $1.4 < z < 3.8$. We obtain rest-frame optical spectra of galaxies and AGN and use the BPT diagram to identify optical AGN. We examine the uniqueness and overlap of the AGN identified at different wavelengths. There is a strong bias against identifying AGN at any wavelength in low mass galaxies, and an additional bias against identifying IR AGN in the most massive galaxies. AGN host galaxies span a wide range of star formation rate (SFR), similar to inactive galaxies once stellar mass selection effects are accounted for. However, we generally identify IR AGN in less dusty galaxies with relatively higher SFR and optical AGN in dusty galaxies with relatively lower SFR. X-ray AGN selection does not display a bias with host galaxy SFR. These results are consistent with those from larger studies at lower redshifts. Once selection biases are accounted for, we find AGN in galaxies with similar physical properties as inactive galaxies, with no evidence for AGN activity in particular types of galaxies which is consistent with AGN being fueled scholastically in all types of host galaxies. We do not detect a significant correlation between SFR and AGN luminosity for individual AGN host galaxies, which may indicate the timescale difference between the growth of galaxies and their supermassive black holes.
    Article · Aug 2016
  • Ryan L. Sanders · Alice E. Shapley · Mariska Kriek · [...] · Laura de Groot
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present measurements of the electron-temperature based oxygen abundance for a highly star-forming galaxy at z=3.08, COSMOS-1908. This is the highest redshift at which [OIII]$\lambda$4363 has been detected, and the first time that this line has been measured at z>2. We estimate an oxygen abundance of 12+log(O/H)$=8.00^{+0.13}_{-0.14}$. This galaxy is a low-mass ($10^{9.3}$ M$_{\odot}$), highly star-forming ($\sim50$ M$_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$) system that hosts a young stellar population ($\sim160$ Myr). We investigate the physical conditions of the ionized gas in COSMOS-1908 and find that this galaxy has a high ionization parameter, little nebular reddening ($E(B-V)_{\rm gas}<0.14$), and a high electron density ($n_e\sim500$ cm$^{-3}$). We compare the ratios of strong oxygen, neon, and hydrogen lines to the direct-method oxygen abundance for COSMOS-1908 and additional star-forming galaxies at z=0-1.8 with [OIII]$\lambda$4363 measurements, and show that galaxies at z$\sim$1-3 follow the same strong-line correlations as galaxies in the local universe. This agreement suggests that the relationship between ionization parameter and O/H is similar for z$\sim$0 and high-redshift galaxies. These results imply that metallicity calibrations based on lines of oxygen, neon, and hydrogen do not strongly evolve with redshift and can reliably estimate abundances out to z$\sim$3, paving the way for robust measurements of the evolution of the mass-metallicity relation to high redshift.
    Article · Jun 2016
  • Naveen A. Reddy · Charles C. Steidel · Max Pettini · [...] · Alice E. Shapley
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We use a large sample of galaxies at z~3 to establish a relationship between reddening, neutral gas covering fraction (fcov(HI)), and the escape of ionizing photons at high redshift. Our sample includes 933 galaxies at z~3, 121 of which have very deep spectroscopic observations (>7 hrs) in the rest-UV (lambda=850-1300 A) with Keck/LRIS. Based on the high covering fraction of outflowing optically-thick HI indicated by the composite spectra of these galaxies, we conclude that photoelectric absorption, rather than dust attenuation, dominates the depletion of ionizing photons. By modeling the composite spectra as the combination of an unattenuated stellar spectrum including nebular continuum emission with one that is absorbed by HI and reddened by a line-of-sight extinction, we derive an empirical relationship between E(B-V) and fcov(HI). Galaxies with redder UV continua have larger covering fractions of HI characterized by higher line-of-sight extinctions. Our results are consistent with the escape of Lya through gas-free lines-of-sight. Covering fractions based on low-ionization interstellar absorption lines systematically underpredict those deduced from the HI lines, suggesting that much of the outflowing gas may be metal-poor. We develop a model which connects the ionizing escape fraction with E(B-V), and which may be used to estimate the escape fraction for an ensemble of high-redshift galaxies. Alternatively, direct measurements of the escape fraction for our data allow us to constrain the intrinsic 900-to-1500 A flux density ratio to be >0.20, a value that favors stellar population models that include weaker stellar winds, a flatter initial mass function, and/or binary evolution. Lastly, we demonstrate how the framework discussed here may be used to assess the pathways by which ionizing radiation escapes from high-redshift galaxies. [Abridged]
    Article · Jun 2016 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • Alice E. Shapley · Charles C. Steidel · Allison L. Strom · [...] · Gwen C. Rudie
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present observations of Q1549-C25, an ~L* star-forming galaxy at z=3.15 for which Lyman-continuum (LyC) radiation is significantly detected in deep Keck/LRIS spectroscopy. We find no evidence for contamination from a lower-redshift interloper close to the line of sight in the high signal-to-noise spectrum of Q1549-C25. Furthermore, the morphology of Q1549-C25 in V_606, J_125, and H_160 Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging reveals that the object consists of a single, isolated component within 1". In combination, these data indicate Q1549-C25 as a clean spectroscopic detection of LyC radiation, only the second such object discovered to date at z~3. We model the spectral energy distribution (SED) of Q1549-C25, finding evidence for negligible dust extinction, an age (assuming continuous star formation) of ~1 Gyr, and a stellar mass of M_*=7.9x10^9 M_sun. Although it is not possible to derive strong constraints on the absolute escape fraction of LyC emission, f_esc(LyC), from a single object, we use simulations of intergalactic and circumgalactic absorption to infer f_esc(LyC)>=0.42 at 95% confidence. The combination of deep Keck/LRIS spectroscopy and HST imaging is required to assemble a larger sample of objects like Q1549-C25, and obtain robust constraints on the average f_esc(LyC) at z~3 and beyond.
    Article · Jun 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Star-forming galaxies form a sequence in the [OIII]/H-beta vs. [NII]/H-alpha diagnostic diagram, with low metallicity, highly ionized galaxies falling in the upper left corner. Drawing from a large sample of UV-selected star-forming galaxies at z~2 with rest-frame optical nebular emission line measurements from Keck-MOSFIRE, we select the extreme ~5% of the galaxies lying in this upper left corner, requiring log([NII]/H-alpha) <= 1.1 and log([OIII]/H-beta) >= 0.75. These cuts identify galaxies with 12 + log(O/H) <~ 8.0, when oxygen abundances are measured via the O3N2 diagnostic. We study the Ly-alpha properties of the resulting sample of 14 galaxies. The mean (median) rest-frame Ly-alpha equivalent width is 39 (36) A, and 11 of the 14 objects (79%) are Ly-alpha-emitters (LAEs) with W_Lya > 20 A. We compare the equivalent width distribution of a sample of 522 UV-selected galaxies at 2.0<z<2.6 identified without regard to their optical line ratios; this sample has mean (median) Ly-alpha equivalent width -1 (-4) A, and only 9% of these galaxies qualify as LAEs. The extreme galaxies typically have lower attenuation at Ly-alpha than those in the comparison sample, and have ~50% lower median oxygen abundances. Both factors are likely to facilitate the escape of Ly-alpha: in less dusty galaxies Ly-alpha photons are less likely to be absorbed during multiple scatterings, while the harder ionizing spectrum and higher ionization parameter associated with strong, low metallicity star formation may reduce the covering fraction or column density of neutral hydrogen, further easing Ly-alpha escape. The use of nebular emission line ratios may prove useful in the identification of galaxies with low opacity to Ly-alpha photons across a range of redshifts.
    Full-text Article · May 2016
  • Michael W. Topping · Alice E. Shapley · Charles C. Steidel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the results of a densely sampled spectroscopic survey of the SSA22 protocluster at $z\approx 3.09$. Our sample with Keck/LRIS spectroscopy includes 106 Ly$\alpha$ Emitters (LAEs) and 40 Lyman Break Galaxies (LBGs) at $z=3.05-3.12$. These galaxies are contained within the $9'\times9'$ region in which the protocluster was discovered, which also hosts the maximum galaxy overdensity in the SSA22 region. The redshift histogram of our spectroscopic sample reveals two distinct peaks, at $z=3.069$ (blue, 43 galaxies) and $z=3.095$ (red, 103 galaxies). Furthermore, objects in the blue and red peaks are segregated on the sky, with galaxies in the blue peak concentrating towards the western half of the field. These results suggest that the blue and red redshift peaks represent two distinct structures in physical space. Although the double-peaked redshift histogram is traced in the same manner by LBGs and LAEs, and brighter and fainter galaxies, we find that nine out of 10 X-ray AGNs in SSA22, and all seven spectroscopically-confirmed giant Ly$\alpha$ "blobs," reside in the red peak. We combine our dataset with sparsely sampled spectroscopy from the literature over a significantly wider area, finding preliminary evidence that the double-peaked structure in redshift space extends beyond the region of our dense spectroscopic sampling. In order to fully characterize the three-dimensional structure, dynamics, and evolution of large-scale structure in the SSA22 overdensity, we require the measurement of large samples of LAE and LBG redshifts over a significantly wider area, as well as detailed comparisons with cosmological simulations of massive cluster formation.
    Article · May 2016
  • Xinnan Du · Alice E. Shapley · Crystal L. Martin · Alison L. Coil
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the first statistical sample of rest-frame far-UV spectra of star-forming galaxies at z~1. These spectra are unique in that they cover the high-ionization CIV{\lambda}{\lambda}1548, 1550 doublet. We also detect low-ionization features such as SiII{\lambda}1527, FeII{\lambda}1608, AlII{\lambda}1670, NiII{\lambda}{\lambda}1741, 1751 and SiII{\lambda}1808, and intermediate-ionization features from AlIII{\lambda}{\lambda}1854, 1862. Comparing the properties of absorption lines of lower- and higher- ionization states provides a window into the multi-phase nature of circumgalactic gas. Our sample is drawn from the DEEP2 survey and spans the redshift range 1.01 < z < 1.35 ( = 1.25). By isolating the interstellar CIV absorption from the stellar P-Cygni wind profile we find that 69% of the CIV profiles are blueshifted with respect to the systemic velocity. Furthermore, CIV shows a small but significant blueshift relative to FeII (offset of the best-fit linear regression -76 $\pm$ 26 km/s). At the same time, the CIV blueshift is on average comparable to that of MgII{\lambda}{\lambda}2796, 2803. At this point, in explaining the larger blueshift of CIV absorption at the ~ 3-sigma level, we cannot distinguish between the faster motion of highly-ionized gas relative to gas traced by FeII, and filling in on the red side from resonant CIV emission. We investigate how far-UV interstellar absorption kinematics correlate with other galaxy properties using stacked spectra. These stacking results show a direct link between CIV absorption and the current SFR, though we only observe small velocity differences among different ionization states tracing the outflowing ISM.
    Article · Apr 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the first direct comparison between Balmer line and panchromatic spectral energy distribution (SED)-based star formation rates (SFRs) for z similar to 2 galaxies. For this comparison, we used 17 star-forming galaxies selected from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey, with 3 sigma detections for H alpha and at least two IR bands (Spitzer/MIPS 24 mu m and Herschel/PACS 100 and 160 mu m, and in some cases Herschel/SPIRE 250, 350, and 500 mu m). The galaxies have total IR (8-1000 mu m) luminosities of similar to 10(11.4)-10(12.4) L-circle dot and SFRs of similar to 30-250 M-circle dot yr(-1).. We fit the UV-to-far-IR SEDs with flexible stellar population synthesis (FSPS) models-which include both stellar and dust emission-and compare the inferred SFRs with the SFR(H alpha, H beta) values corrected for dust attenuation using Balmer decrements. The two SFRs agree with a scatter of 0.17 dex. Our results imply that the Balmer decrement accurately predicts the obscuration of the nebular lines and can be used to robustly calculate SFRs for star-forming galaxies at z similar to 2 with SFRs up to similar to 200 M-circle dot yr(-1).. We also use our data to assess SFR indicators based on modeling the UV-to-mid-IR SEDs or by adding SFR(UV) and SFR(IR), for which the latter is based on the mid-IR only or on the full IR SED. All these SFRs show a poorer agreement with SFR(H alpha, H beta) and in some cases large systematic biases are observed. Finally, we show that the SFR and dust attenuation derived from the UV-to-near-IR SED alone are unbiased when assuming a delayed exponentially declining star formation history.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2016
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    Kaveh Vasei · Brian Siana · Alice E. Shapley · [...] · Geraint F. Lewis
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High redshift star-forming galaxies are likely responsible for the reionization of the Universe, yet direct detection of their escaping ionizing (Lyman continuum) photons has proven to be extremely challenging. In this study, we search for escaping Lyman continuum of the Cosmic Horseshoe, a gravitationally lensed, star-forming galaxy at z=2.38 with a large magnification of $\sim24$. Transmission at wavelengths of low ionization interstellar absorption lines in the rest-frame ultraviolet suggest a patchy, partially transparent interstellar medium. This makes it an ideal candidate for direct detection of the Lyman continuum. We obtained a 10-orbit Hubble near-UV image using the WFC3/UVIS F275W filter that probes wavelengths just below the Lyman limit at the redshift of the Horseshoe in an attempt to detect escaping Lyman continuum radiation. After fully accounting for the uncertainties in the opacity of the intergalactic medium as well as accounting for the charge transfer inefficiency in the WFC3 CCDs, we find a $3 \sigma$ upper-limit for the relative escape fraction of $f_{esc,rel}<0.08$. This value is a factor of five lower than the value (0.4) predicted by the 40\% transmission in the low-ion absorption lines. We discuss the possible causes for this discrepancy and consider the implications for future attempts at both direct Lyman continuum detection as well as indirect estimates of the escape fraction.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2016
  • Sedona H. Price · Mariska Kriek · Alice E. Shapley · [...] · Tom Zick
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a study of the H$\alpha$ gas kinematics for 179 star-forming galaxies at $z\sim2$ from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field survey. We have developed models to interpret the kinematic measurements from fixed-angle multi-object spectroscopy, using structural parameters derived from CANDELS HST/F160W imaging. For 35 galaxies we measure resolved rotation with a median $(V/\sigma_{v,0})_{R_E}=2.11$. We derive dynamical masses from the kinematics and sizes and compare them to baryonic masses, with gas masses estimated from Balmer decrement corrected H$\alpha$ star formation rates (SFRs) and the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation. When assuming that galaxies with and without observed rotation have the same median $(V/\sigma_{v,0})_{R_E}$, we find good agreement between the dynamical and baryonic masses, with a scatter of $\sigma_{RMS}=0.338$ dex and a median offset of $\Delta\log_{10}M=0.04$ dex. This comparison implies a low dark matter fraction (8% within an effective radius) for a Chabrier initial mass function (IMF), and disfavors a Salpeter IMF. Moreover, the requirement that $M_{dyn}/M_{baryon}$ for galaxies without observed rotation should be independent of inclination yields a median value of $(V/\sigma_{v,0})_{R_E}= 2.1$. If instead we assume that galaxies without resolved rotation are ellipticals, the masses are also in reasonable agreement ($\Delta\log_{10}M=-0.06$ dex, $\sigma_{RMS}=0.364$ dex). The inclusion of gas masses is critical in this comparison; if gas masses are excluded there is an increasing trend of $M_{dyn}/M_{*}$ with higher specific SFR (SSFR). Furthermore, we find indications that $V/\sigma$ decreases with increasing H$\alpha$ SSFR for our full sample, which may reflect disk settling. The active galactic nuclei in our sample have a similar distribution in $M_{dyn}-M_{baryon}$ as the primary sample, which suggests the kinematics describe the host galaxies.
    Article · Nov 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Ryan L. Sanders · Alice E. Shapley · Mariska Kriek · [...] · Laura de Groot
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using observations from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey, we investigate the physical conditions of star-forming regions in $z\sim2.3$ galaxies, specifically the electron density and ionization state. From measurements of the [O II]$\lambda\lambda$3726,3729 and [S II]$\lambda\lambda$6716,6731 doublets, we find a median electron density of $\sim250$ cm$^{-3}$ at $z\sim2.3$, an increase of an order of magnitude compared to measurements of galaxies at $z\sim0$. While $z\sim2.3$ galaxies are offset towards significantly higher O$_{32}$ values relative to local galaxies at fixed stellar mass, we find that the high-redshift sample follows a similar distribution to the low-metallicity tail of the local distribution in the O$_{32}$ vs. R$_{23}$ and O3N2 diagrams. Based on these results, we propose that $z\sim2.3$ star-forming galaxies have the same ionization parameter as local galaxies at fixed metallicity. In combination with simple photoionization models, the position of local and $z\sim2.3$ galaxies in excitation diagrams suggests that there is no significant change in the hardness of the ionizing spectrum at fixed metallicity from $z\sim0$ to $z\sim2.3$. We find that $z\sim2.3$ galaxies show no offset compared to low-metallicity local galaxies in emission line ratio diagrams involving only lines of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, but show a systematic offset in diagrams involving [N II]$\lambda$6584. We conclude that the offset of $z\sim2.3$ galaxies from the local star-forming sequence in the [N II] BPT diagram is primarily driven by elevated N/O at fixed O/H compared to local galaxies. These results suggest that the local gas-phase and stellar metallicity sets the ionization state of star-forming regions at $z\sim0$ and $z\sim2$.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Irene Shivaei · Naveen A. Reddy · Alice E. Shapley · [...] · Mojegan Azadi
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results on the SFR-$M_*$ relation (i.e., the "main sequence") among star-forming galaxies at $1.37\leq z \leq2.61$ using the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey. Based on a sample of 261 star-forming galaxies with observations of H$\alpha$ and H$\beta$ emission lines, we have estimated robust dust-corrected instantaneous star-formation rates (SFRs) over a large dynamic range in stellar mass ($\sim 10^{9.0}-10^{11.5}M_\odot$). We find a tight correlation between SFR(H$\alpha$) and $M_*$ with an intrinsic scatter of 0.36 dex, 0.05 dex larger than that of UV-based SFRs. This increased scatter is consistent with predictions from numerical simulations of 0.03 - 0.1 dex, and is attributed to H$\alpha$ more accurately tracing SFR variations. The slope of the $\log(\text{SFR})-\log(M_*)$ relation, using SFR(H$\alpha$), at $1.4< z<2.6$ and over the stellar mass range of $10^{9.5}$ to $10^{11.5}M_\odot$ is $0.65\pm 0.09$. We find that different assumptions for the dust correction, such as using the stellar $E(B-V)$ with a Calzetti et al. (2000) attenuation curve, as well as the sample biases against red and dusty star-forming galaxies at large masses, could yield steeper slopes. Moreover, not correcting the Balmer emission line fluxes for the underlying Balmer absorption results in overestimating the dust extinction of H$\alpha$ and SFR(H$\alpha$) at the high-mass end by 2.1 (2.5) at $10^{10.6} M_\odot$ ($10^{11.1} M_\odot$) and artificially increases the slope of the main-sequence. The shallower main-sequence slope found here compared to that of galaxy evolution simulations may be indicative of different feedback processes governing the low- and/or high-mass end of the main sequence.
    Full-text Article · Jul 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • David R. Law · Alice E. Shapley · Jade Checlair · Charles C. Steidel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We use Hubble Space Telescope Wide-Field Camera 3 (HST/WFC3) rest-frame optical imaging to select a pilot sample of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range z = 2.00-2.65 whose multi-component morphologies are consistent with expectations for major mergers. We follow up this sample of major merger candidates with Keck/NIRSPEC longslit spectroscopy obtained in excellent seeing conditions (FWHM ~ 0.5 arcsec) to obtain Halpha-based redshifts of each of the morphological components in order to distinguish spectroscopic pairs from false pairs created by projection along the line of sight. Of six pair candidates observed, companions (estimated mass ratios 5:1 and 7:1) are detected for two galaxies down to a 3sigma limiting emission-line flux of ~ 10^{-17} erg/s/cm2. This detection rate is consistent with a ~ 50% false pair fraction at such angular separations (1-2 arcsec), and with recent claims that the star-formation rate (SFR) can differ by an order of magnitude between the components in such mergers. The two spectroscopic pairs identified have total SFR, SFR surface densities, and stellar masses consistent on average with the overall z ~ 2 star forming galaxy population.
    Article · Jul 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Robin E. Mostardi · Alice E. Shapley · Charles C. Steidel · [...] · Brian Siana
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present $U_{336}V_{606}J_{125}H_{160}$ follow-up $HST$ observations of 16 $z\sim3$ candidate LyC emitters in the HS1549+1933 field. With these data, we obtain high spatial-resolution photometric redshifts of all sub-arcsecond components of the LyC candidates in order to eliminate foreground contamination and identify robust candidates for leaking LyC emission. Of the 16 candidates, we find one object with a robust LyC detection that is not due to foreground contamination. This object (MD5) resolves into two components; we refer to the LyC-emitting component as MD5b. MD5b has an observed 1500\AA\ to 900\AA\ flux-density ratio of $(F_{UV}/F_{LyC})_{obs}=4.0\pm2.0$, compatible with predictions from stellar population synthesis models. Neglecting IGM absorption, this ratio corresponds to lower limits to the relative (absolute) escape fraction of $f_{esc,rel}^{MD5b}=75\%\pm38\%$ ($f_{esc,abs}^{MD5b}=14\%\pm7\%$). The stellar population fit to MD5b indicates an age of $\lesssim50$Myr, which is in the youngest 10% of the $HST$ sample and the youngest third of typical $z\sim3$ Lyman break galaxies, and may be a contributing factor to its LyC detection. We obtain a revised, contamination-free estimate for the comoving specific ionizing emissivity at $z=2.85$, indicating (with large uncertainties) that star-forming galaxies provide roughly the same contribution as QSOs to the ionizing background at this redshift. Our results show that foreground contamination prevents ground-based LyC studies from obtaining a full understanding of LyC emission from $z\sim3$ star-forming galaxies. Future progress in direct LyC searches is contingent upon the elimination of foreground contaminants through high spatial-resolution observations, and upon acquisition of sufficiently deep LyC imaging to probe ionizing radiation in high-redshift galaxies.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Brian Siana · Alice E. Shapley · Kristin R. Kulas · [...] · Duilia F. de Mello
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Narrowband imaging of the rest-frame Lyman continuum (LyC) of galaxies at has produced a large number of candidate LyC-emitting galaxies. These samples are contaminated by galaxies at lower redshift. To better understand LyC escape, we need an uncontaminated sample of galaxies that emit strongly in the LyC. Here we present deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging of five bright galaxies at that had previously been identified as candidate LyC emitters with ground-based images. The WFC3 F336W images probe the LyC of galaxies at and provide an order-of-magnitude increase in spatial resolution over ground-based imaging. The non-ionizing UV images often show multiple galaxies (or components) within of the candidate LyC emission seen from the ground. In each case, only one of the components is emitting light in the F336W filter, which would indicate LyC escape if that component is at . We use Keck/NIRSPEC near-IR spectroscopy to measure redshifts of these components to distinguish LyC emitters from foreground contamination. We find that two candidates are low-redshift contaminants, one candidate had a previously misidentified redshift, and the other two cannot be confirmed as LyC emitters. The level of contamination is consistent with previous estimates. For the galaxies with , we derive strong limits on the relative escape fraction between 0.07 and 0.09. We still do not have a sample of definitive LyC emitters, and a much larger study of low-luminosity galaxies is required. The combination of high-resolution imaging and deep spectroscopy is critical for distinguishing LyC emitters from foreground contaminants.
    Full-text Article · May 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most present-day galaxies with stellar masses ≥1011 solar masses show no ongoing star formation and are dense spheroids. Ten billion years ago, similarly massive galaxies were typically forming stars at rates of hundreds solar masses per year. It is debated how star formation ceased, on which time scales, and how this “quenching” relates to the emergence of dense spheroids. We measured stellar mass and star-formation rate surface density distributions in star-forming galaxies at redshift 2.2 with ~1-kiloparsec resolution. We find that, in the most massive galaxies, star formation is quenched from the inside out, on time scales less than 1 billion years in the inner regions, up to a few billion years in the outer disks. These galaxies sustain high star-formation activity at large radii, while hosting fully grown and already quenched bulges in their cores.
    Full-text Article · Apr 2015 · Science
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    Naveen A. Reddy · Mariska Kriek · Alice E. Shapley · [...] · Irene Shivaei
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results on the dust attenuation curve of z~2 galaxies using early observations from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey. Our sample consists of 224 star-forming galaxies with nebular spectroscopic redshifts in the range z= 1.36-2.59 and high S/N measurements of, or upper limits on, the H-alpha and H-beta emission lines obtained with Keck/MOSFIRE. We construct composite SEDs of galaxies in bins of specific SFR and Balmer optical depth in order to directly constrain the dust attenuation curve from the UV through near-IR for typical star-forming galaxies at high redshift. Our results imply an attenuation curve that is very similar to the SMC extinction curve at wavelengths redward of 2500 Angstroms. At shorter wavelengths, the shape of the curve is identical to that of the Calzetti relation, but with a lower normalization (R_V). Hence, the new attenuation curve results in SFRs that are ~20% lower, and log stellar masses that are 0.16 dex lower, than those obtained with the Calzetti attenuation curve. Moreover, we find that the difference in the reddening---and the total attenuation---of the ionized gas and stellar continuum correlates strongly with SFR, such that for dust-corrected SFRs larger than 20 Msun/yr assuming a Chabrier IMF, the nebular emission lines suffer an increasing degree of obscuration relative to the continuum. A simple model that can account for these trends is one in which the UV through optical stellar continuum is dominated by a population of less reddened stars, while the nebular line and bolometric luminosities become increasingly dominated by dustier stellar populations for galaxies with large SFRs, as a result of the increased dust enrichment that accompanies such galaxies. Consequently, UV- and SED-based SFRs may underestimate the total SFR at even modest levels of ~20 Msun/yr. [Abridged]
    Full-text Article · Apr 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We use a sample of 262 spectroscopically confirmed star-forming galaxies at redshifts $2.08\leq z\leq 2.51$ to compare H$\alpha$, UV, and IR star-formation-rate diagnostics and to investigate the dust properties of the galaxies. At these redshifts, the H$\alpha$ line shifts to the $K_{s}$-band. By comparing $K_{s}$-band photometry to underlying stellar population model fits to other UV, optical, and near-infrared data, we infer the H$\alpha$ flux for each galaxy. We obtain the best agreement between H$\alpha$- and UV-based SFRs if we assume that the ionized gas and stellar continuum are reddened by the same value and that the Calzetti attenuation curve is applied to both. Aided with MIPS 24$\mu$m data, we find that an attenuation curve steeper than the Calzetti curve is needed to reproduce the observed IR/UV ratios of galaxies younger than 100 Myr. Furthermore, using the bolometric star-formation rate inferred from the UV and mid-IR data (SFR$_{IR}$+SFR$_{UV}$), we calculated the conversion between the H$\alpha$ luminosity and SFR to be $(7.5\pm1.3) \times 10^{-42}$ for a Salpeter IMF, which is consistent with the Kennicutt (1998) conversion. The derived conversion factor is independent of any assumption of the dust correction and is robust to stellar population model uncertainties.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey on rest-frame optical active galactic nucleus (AGN) identification and completeness at z ~ 2.3. With our sample of 50 galaxies and 10 X-ray and IR-selected AGNs with measured Hβ, [O III], Hα, and N II emission lines, we investigate the location of AGNs in the BPT, MEx (mass-excitation), and CEx (color-excitation) diagrams. We find that th BPT diagram works well to identify AGNs at z ~ 2.3 and that the z ~ 0 AGN/star-forming galaxy classifications do not need to shift substantially at z ~ 2.3 to robustly separate these populations. However, the MEx diagram fails to identify all of the AGN identified in the BPT diagram, and the CEx diagram is substantially contaminated at high redshift. We further show that AGN samples selected using the BPT diagram have selection biases in terms of both host stellar mass and stellar population, in that AGNs in low mass and/or high specific star formation rate galaxies are difficult to identify using the BPT diagram. These selection biases become increasingly severe at high redshift, such that optically selected AGN samples at high redshift will necessarily be incomplete. We also find that the gas in the narrow-line region appears to be more enriched than gas in the host galaxy for at least some MOSDEF AGNs. However, AGNs at z ~ 2 are generally less enriched than local AGNs with the same host stellar mass.
    Article · Mar 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

12k Citations

Institutions

  • 2015
    • University of California, Riverside
      Riverside, California, United States
  • 2008-2014
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      • • Division of Astronomy & Astrophysics
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 2001-2012
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Department of Astronomy
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2011
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2010
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Physics
      Davis, California, United States
  • 2007-2009
    • Princeton University
      • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 2003-2008
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, CA, United States