AN INCREASING STELLAR BARYON FRACTION IN BRIGHT GALAXIES AT HIGH REDSHIFT Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.. Recent observations have shown that the characteristic luminosity of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) luminosity function does not significantly evolve at 4 < z < 7 and is approximately We investigate this apparent non-evolution by examining a sample of 173 bright, MUV < -21 galaxies at z = 4-7, analyzing their stellar populations and host halo masses. Including deep Spitzer/IRAC imaging to constrain the rest-frame optical light, we find that galaxies at z = 4-7 have similar stellar masses of log(M/Mo) = 9.6-9.9 and are thus relatively massive for these high redshifts. However, bright galaxies at z = 4-7 are less massive and have younger inferred ages than similarly bright galaxies at z = 2-3, even though the two populations have similar star formation rates and levels of dust attenuation for a fixed dust-attenuation curve. Matching the abundances of these bright z = 4-7 galaxies to halo mass functions from the Bolshoi ΛCDM simulation implies that the typical halo masses in galaxies decrease from log(Mh/Mo) = 11.9 at z = 4 to log(Mh/Mo) = 11.4 at z = 7. Thus, although we are studying galaxies at a similar stellar mass across multiple redshifts, these galaxies live in lower mass halos at higher redshift. The stellar baryon fraction in galaxies in units of the cosmic mean Ωb/Ωm rises from 5.1% at z = 4 to 11.7% at z = 7; this evolution is significant at the ∼3σ level. This rise does not agree with simple expectations of how galaxies grow, and implies that some effect, perhaps a diminishing efficiency of feedback, is allowing a higher fraction of available baryons to be converted into stars at high redshifts.

altmetric score

  • 24.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Finkelstein, S. L., Song, M., Behroozi, P., Somerville, R. S., Papovich, C., Milosavljević, M., ... Willner, S. P.

citation count

  • 35

publication date

  • November 2015