Volume 573, January 2015
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||07 January 2015|
Evolution of the dust emission of massive galaxies up to z = 4 and constraints on their dominant mode of star formation⋆
1 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Laboratoire AIM-Paris-Saclay, CEA/DSM/Irfu – CNRS – Université Paris Diderot, CEA-Saclay, pt courrier 131, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3 Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK
4 Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK
5 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
6 Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
7 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421, USA
8 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
9 Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
10 University of Zagreb, Physics Department, Bijenička cesta 32, 10002 Zagreb, Croatia
11 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
12 California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Received: 19 September 2014
Accepted: 11 November 2014
We aim to measure the average dust and molecular gas content of massive star-forming galaxies (>3 × 1010M⊙) up to z = 4 in the COSMOS field to determine if the intense star formation observed at high redshift is induced by major mergers or is caused by large gas reservoirs. Firstly, we measured the evolution of the average spectral energy distributions as a function of redshift using a stacking analysis of Spitzer, Herschel, LABOCA, and AzTEC data for two samples of galaxies: normal star-forming objects and strong starbursts, as defined by their distance to the main sequence. We found that the mean intensity of the radiation field ⟨ U ⟩ heating the dust (strongly correlated with dust temperature) increases with increasing redshift up to z = 4 in main-sequence galaxies. We can reproduce this evolution with simple models that account for the decrease in the gas metallicity with redshift. No evolution of ⟨ U ⟩ with redshift is found in strong starbursts. We then deduced the evolution of the molecular gas fraction (defined here as Mmol/ (Mmol + M⋆)) with redshift and found a similar, steeply increasing trend for both samples. At z ~ 4, this fraction reaches ~60%. The average position of the main-sequence galaxies is on the locus of the local, normal star-forming disks in the integrated Schmidt-Kennicutt diagram (star formation rate versus mass of molecular gas), suggesting that the bulk of the star formation up to z = 4 is dominated by secular processes.
Key words: galaxies: formation / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: high-redshift / galaxies: star formation / infrared: galaxies / submillimeter: galaxies
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© ESO, 2015
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