Star formation & folecular gas over cosmic time

Daddi, E, Sargent, M T, Béthermin, M and Magdis, G (2012) Star formation & folecular gas over cosmic time. In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. Cambridge Journals Online, pp. 64-73.

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Recent observations have revealed the existence of a ‘main sequence’ of star-forming galaxies out to high redshift. While the majority of star-forming galaxies are observed to be close to this relation between star formation rate (SFR) and stellar mass, a smaller subset of the population – so-called ‘starbursts’ – displays specific star-formation rates and star-formation efficiencies that exceed those of normal (main-sequence) galaxies by up to an order of magnitude. A large degree of homogeneity and similarity has been observed for the properties of the population of normal galaxies across a broad redshift range, including a narrow correlation between their CO luminosity (hence gas content) and IR luminosity and an almost invariable IR SED getting warmer with redshift, while starburst galaxies display systematically different properties. This can be used to devise a simple description of the evolution of the star-forming galaxy population since z ~ 2 and, with a higher degree of uncertainty, even further back in time, in a scheme that we dub two star formation mode framework (2-SFM). We show how this can successfully reproduce the shape of the IR luminosity function of galaxies as a function of redshifts, and the IR number counts. Furthermore, we can link the cosmic evolution of the sSFR of main-sequence galaxies to the evolution of the molecular fuel reservoir and to derive estimates of the molecular gas mass functions of star-forming galaxies that are based on their empirically measured gas properties rather than simulations or semi-analytical modelling. We also infer the evolution of the cosmic abundance of molecular gas and briefly discuss its expected observational signature by molecular line emission, the CO luminosity function.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Depositing User: Mark Sargent
Date Deposited: 21 May 2014 14:57
Last Modified: 21 May 2014 14:57
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