The First Billion Years project: constraining the dust attenuation law of star-forming galaxies at z ≃ 5

Cullen, F.; McLure, R. J.; Khochfar, S.; Dunlop, J. S.; Dalla Vecchia, C.
Bibliographical reference

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 470, Issue 3, p.3006-3026

Advertised on:
We present the results of a study investigating the dust attenuation law at z ≃ 5, based on synthetic spectral energy distributions (SEDs) calculated for a sample of N = 498 galaxies drawn from the First Billion Years (FiBY) simulation project. The simulated galaxies at z ≃ 5, which have M1500 ≤ -18.0 and 7.5 ≤ log(M/M}_{⊙}) ≤ 10.2, display a mass-dependent α-enhancement, with a median value of [α /{Fe}]_{z=5} ˜eq 4 × [α /{Fe}]_{Z_{⊙}}. The median Fe/H ratio of the simulated galaxies is 0.14 ± 0.05 which produces steep intrinsic ultraviolet (UV) continuum slopes; 〈βi〉 = -2.4 ± 0.05. Using a set of simple dust attenuation models, in which the wavelength-dependent attenuation is assumed to be of the form A(λ) ∝ λn, we explore the parameter values which best reproduce the observed z = 5 luminosity function (LF) and colour-magnitude relation (CMR). We find that a simple model in which the absolute UV attenuation is a linearly increasing function of log stellar mass (A1500 = 0.5 × log(M/M⊙) - 3.3), and the dust attenuation slope (n) is within the range -0.7 ≤ n ≤ -0.3, can successfully reproduce the LF and CMR over a wide range of stellar population synthesis model assumptions, including the effects of massive binaries. This range of attenuation curves is consistent with a power-law fit to the Calzetti attenuation law in the UV (n = -0.55). In contrast, curves as steep as the Small Magellanic Cloud extinction curve (n = -1.24) are formally ruled out. Finally, we show that our models are consistent with recent 1.3 mm Atacama Large Millimeter Array observations of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, and predict the form of the z ≃ 5 infrared excess (IRX)-β relation.
Related projects
Project Image
Numerical Astrophysics: Galaxy Formation and Evolution

How galaxies formed and evolved through cosmic time is one of the key questions of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Cosmological time- and length-scales are so large that the evolution of individual galaxies cannot be directly observed. Only through numerical simulations can one follow the emergence of cosmic structures within the current

Dalla Vecchia
 The Invisible Scaffolding of Space
Cosmology with Large Scale Structure Probes

The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) contains the statistical information about the early seeds of the structure formation in our Universe. Its natural counterpart in the local universe is the distribution of galaxies that arises as a result of gravitational growth of those primordial and small density fluctuations. The characterization of the