The dust attenuation of star-forming galaxies at z ~ 3 and beyond: New insights from ALMA observations

Y. Fudamoto*, P. A. Oesch, E. Schinnerer, B. Groves, A. Karim, B. Magnelli, M. T. Sargent, P. Cassata, P. Lang, D. Liu, O. Le Fèvre, S. Leslie, V. Smolčić, L. Tasca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present results on the dust attenuation of galaxies at redshift ~3-6 by studying the relationship between the UV spectral slope (βUV) and the infrared excess (IRX; LIR/LUV) using Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) far-infrared continuum observations. Our study is based on a sample of 67 massive, star-forming galaxies with a median mass of M* ~ 1010.7 M spanning a redshift range z = 2.6-3.7 (median z = 3.2) that were observed with ALMA at λrest = 300 μm. Both the individual ALMA detections (41 sources) and stacks including all galaxies show the IRX-βUV relationship at z ~ 3 is mostly consistent with that of local starburst galaxies on average. However, we find evidence for a large dispersion around the mean relationship by up to ±0.5 dex. Nevertheless, the locally calibrated dust correction factors based on the IRX-βUV relation are on average applicable to main-sequence z ~ 3 galaxies. This does not appear to be the case at even higher redshifts, however. Using public ALMA observations of z ~ 4-6 galaxies we find evidence for a significant evolution in the IRX-βUV and the IRX-M* relations beyond z ~ 3 towards lower IRX values. We discuss several caveats that could affect these results, including the assumed dust temperature. ALMA observations of larger z > 3 galaxy sample spanning a wide range of physical parameters (e.g. lower stellar mass) will be important to investigate this intriguing redshift evolution further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-490
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume472
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Submillimetre: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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