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The dusty, albeit ultraviolet bright, infancy of galaxies


Devriendt, J; Rimes, C; Pichon, C; Teyssier, R; Le Borgne, D; Aubert, D; Audit, E; Colombi, S; Courty, S; Dubois, Y; Prunet, S; Rasera, Y; Slyz, A; Tweed, D (2010). The dusty, albeit ultraviolet bright, infancy of galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 403(1):L84-L88.

Abstract

The largest galaxies acquire their mass early on, when the Universe is still youthful. Cold streams violently feed these young galaxies a vast amount of fresh gas, resulting in very efficient star formation. Using a well resolved hydrodynamical simulation of galaxy formation, we demonstrate that these mammoth galaxies are already in place a couple of billion years after the big bang. Contrary to local star-forming galaxies, where dust re-emits a large part of the stellar ultraviolet (UV) light at infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths, our self-consistent modelling of dust extinction predicts that a substantial fraction of UV photons should escape from primordial galaxies. Such a model allows us to compute reliably the number of high-redshift objects as a function of luminosity, and yields galaxies whose UV luminosities closely match those measured in the deepest observational surveys available. This agreement is remarkably good considering our admittedly still simple modelling of the interstellar medium physics. The luminosity functions of virtual UV luminous galaxies coincide with the existing data over the whole redshift range from 4 to 7, provided cosmological parameters are set to their currently favoured values. Despite their considerable emission at short wavelengths, we anticipate that the counterparts of the brightest UV galaxies will be detected by future sub-millimetre facilities like ALMA.

Abstract

The largest galaxies acquire their mass early on, when the Universe is still youthful. Cold streams violently feed these young galaxies a vast amount of fresh gas, resulting in very efficient star formation. Using a well resolved hydrodynamical simulation of galaxy formation, we demonstrate that these mammoth galaxies are already in place a couple of billion years after the big bang. Contrary to local star-forming galaxies, where dust re-emits a large part of the stellar ultraviolet (UV) light at infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths, our self-consistent modelling of dust extinction predicts that a substantial fraction of UV photons should escape from primordial galaxies. Such a model allows us to compute reliably the number of high-redshift objects as a function of luminosity, and yields galaxies whose UV luminosities closely match those measured in the deepest observational surveys available. This agreement is remarkably good considering our admittedly still simple modelling of the interstellar medium physics. The luminosity functions of virtual UV luminous galaxies coincide with the existing data over the whole redshift range from 4 to 7, provided cosmological parameters are set to their currently favoured values. Despite their considerable emission at short wavelengths, we anticipate that the counterparts of the brightest UV galaxies will be detected by future sub-millimetre facilities like ALMA.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:March 2010
Deposited On:02 Mar 2011 15:42
Last Modified:23 Nov 2017 08:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0035-8711
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-3933.2010.00820.x
Related URLs:http://arxiv.org/abs/0912.0376v1

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