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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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