Star Formation in AEGIS Field Galaxies since z  = 1.1: The Dominance of Gradually Declining Star Formation, and the Main Sequence of Star-forming Galaxies Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We analyze star formation (SF) as a function of stellar mass (M*) and redshift z in the All-Wavelength Extended Groth Strip International Survey. For 2905 field galaxies, complete to 1010(1010.8) M ⊙ at z < 0.7(1), with Keck spectroscopic redshifts out to z = 1.1, we compile SF rates (SFRs) from emission lines, GALEX, and Spitzer MIPS 24 μm photometry, optical-NIR M* measurements, and HST morphologies. Galaxies with reliable signs of SF form a distinct "main sequence" (MS), with a limited range of SFRs at a given M* and z (1 σ ≲ ±0.3 dex), and log (SFR) approximately proportional to log M*. The range of log (SFR) remains constant to z > 1, while the MS as a whole moves to higher SFR as z increases. The range of the SFR along the MS constrains the amplitude of episodic variations of SF and the effect of mergers on the SFR. Typical galaxies spend ∼67%(95%) of their lifetime since z = 1 within a factor of ≲2(4) of their average SFR at a given M* and z. The dominant mode of the evolution of SF since z ∼ 1 is apparently a gradual decline of the average SFR in most individual galaxies, not a decreasing frequency of starburst episodes, or a decreasing factor by which SFRs are enhanced in starbursts. LIRGs at z ∼ 1 seem to mostly reflect the high SFR typical for massive galaxies at that epoch. The smooth MS may reflect that the same set of few physical processes governs SF prior to additional quenching processes. A gradual process like gas exhaustion may play a dominant role. © 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Noeske, K. G., Weiner, B. J., Faber, S. M., Papovich, C., Koo, D. C., Somerville, R. S., ... Wilson, G.

citation count

  • 1258

publication date

  • April 2007