Unravelling the influence of environment, redshift and confusion on the star formation in dusty galaxies

Duivenvoorden, Steven (2018) Unravelling the influence of environment, redshift and confusion on the star formation in dusty galaxies. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Over the last three decades, the far-infrared emission from distant galaxies has been revealed to us. This far-infrared light is emitted by dust clouds heated by UV radiation from young stars. This reveals to us some of the most remarkable and highly star-forming galaxies in the Universe. The Herschel space observatory was able to capture this light. With this thesis I have attempted to get a better understanding of the underlying galaxy population. I have done this by observing the most extreme forms of star formation in the early Universe seen in maps obtained by the SPIRE instrument and using prior information from deep high resolution surveys. In particular I have examined the dependencies of dusty galaxy properties on their environment.

I have confirmed that star formation is primarily dependent on both galaxy mass and whether a galaxy lies in the "blue cloud". Environment is the primary influence on the fraction of galaxies lying in the blue cloud and has a minor, but significant, affect on the average star formation rate of star forming galaxies. The highest redshift galaxies directly detected in the Herschel SPIRE maps are very rare, but due to the large area of the HerMES surveys we are able to find a statistical significant sample. With the addition of longer wavelength SCUBA-2 data I further confine the redshift of the dusty galaxies and find that the star formation rates of those sources are extremely high and exceed 1000 M_ a year. The observed number counts of these extremely bright sources have been a problem for galaxy evolution models. I am able to explain the observed number count of red SPIRE sources by adding correlated confusion noise and Gaussian instrumental noise to simulated galaxy catalogues. My results emphasise that it is crucial to correct for noise and selection effects for comparison with simulations. I exploit a novel way of fitting the full SPIRE maps using prior information from deep high resolution surveys, obtained from wavelengths ranging from optical to radio. In doing so I obtain the most accurate values of the cosmic infrared background (CIB) at the SPIRE wavelengths. With these results we have a better indication of which sources are producing the CIB, and therefore the bulk of star formation. My results indicate that future large area surveys like LSST are likely to resolve a substantial fraction of the population responsible for the CIB at 250 µm ≤ λ ≤ 500 µm.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB0495 Descriptive astronomy > QB0799 Stars > QB0806 Stellar evolution
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 15:55
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:55
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/77363

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