Letter to the Editor
Department of Astronomy, University of Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 3, 35122 Padova, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
4 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany
5 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
6 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
7 ESAC, Villafranca del Castillo, 28691 Madrid, Spain
8 Laboratoire AIM, CEA/DSM-CNRS-Université Paris Diderot, IRFU/Service d'Astrophysique, Bât.709, CEA-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
9 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38205 La Laguna, Spain
10 Department of Astronomy, 610 Space Sciences Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
11 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via di Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Italy
12 INAF-IFSI, Via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
13 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy
Accepted: 30 April 2010
Aims. We exploit deep observations of the GOODS-N field taken with PACS, the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer, onboard of Herschel, as part of the PACS evolutionary probe guaranteed time (PEP), to study the link between star formation and stellar mass in galaxies to z ~ 2.
Methods. Starting from a stellar mass – selected sample of ~4500 galaxies with mag4.5 µm < 23.0 (AB), we identify ~350 objects with a PACS detection at 100 or 160 ~1500 with only Spitzer 24 μm counterpart. Stellar masses and total IR luminosities (LIR) are estimated by fitting the spectral energy distributions (SEDs).
Results. Consistently with other Herschel results, we find that LIR based only on 24 μm data is overestimated by a median factor ~1.8 at z ~ 2, whereas it is underestimated (with our approach) up to a factor ~1.6 at 0.5 < z < 1.0. We then exploit this calibration to correct LIR based on the MIPS/Spitzer fluxes. These results clearly show how Herschel is fundamental to constrain LIR, and hence the star formation rate (SFR), of high redshift galaxies. Using the galaxies detected with PACS (and/or MIPS), we investigate the existence and evolution of the relations between the SFR, the specific star formation rate (SSFR=SFR/mass) and the stellar mass. Moreover, in order to avoid selection effects, we also repeat this study through a stacking analysis on the PACS images to fully exploit the far-IR information also for the Herschel and Spitzer undetected subsamples. We find that the SSFR-mass relation steepens with redshift, being almost flat at z < 1.0 and reaching a slope of α = -0.50+0.13-0.16 at z ~ 2, at odds with recent works based on radio-stacking analysis at the same redshift. The mean SSFR of galaxies increases with redshift, by a factor ~15 for massive M > 1011 galaxies from z = 0 to z = 2, and seems to flatten at z > 1.5 in this mass range. Moreover, the most massive galaxies have the lowest SSFR at any z, implying that they have formed their stars earlier and more rapidly than their low mass counterparts (downsizing).
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: active / galaxies: starburst / cosmology: observations / infrared: galaxies
Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.
Appendices are only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2010