Are Dusty Galaxies Blue? Insights On Uv Attenuation From Dust-Selected Galaxies

Date

2014-12

Authors

Casey, C. M.
Scoville, N. Z.
Sanders, D. B.
Lee, N.
Cooray, Asantha
Finkelstein, Steven L.
Capak, P.
Conley, A.
De Zotti, G.
Farrah, D.

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Abstract

Galaxies' rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) properties are often used to directly infer the degree to which dust obscuration affects the measurement of star formation rates (SFRs). While much recent work has focused on calibrating dust attenuation in galaxies selected at rest-frame ultraviolet wavelengths, locally and at high-z, here we investigate attenuation in dusty, star forming galaxies (DSFGs) selected at far-infrared wavelengths. By combining multiwavelength coverage across 0.15-500 mu m in the COSMOS field, in particular making use of Herschel imaging, and a rich data set on local galaxies, we find an empirical variation in the relationship between the rest-frame UV slope (beta) and the ratio of infrared-to-ultraviolet emission (L-IR/L-UV = IRX) as a function of infrared luminosity, or total SFR. Both locally and at high-z, galaxies above SFR greater than or similar to 50 M-circle dot yr(-1) deviate from the nominal IRX-beta relation toward bluer colors by a factor proportional to their increasing IR luminosity. We also estimate contamination rates of DSFGs on high-z dropout searches of << 1% at z less than or similar to 4-10, providing independent verification that contamination from very dusty foreground galaxies is low in Lyman-break galaxy searches. Overall, our results are consistent with the physical interpretation that DSFGs, e.g., galaxies with > 50 M-circle dot yr(-1), are dominated at all epochs by short-lived, extreme burst events, producing many young O and B stars that are primarily, yet not entirely, enshrouded in thick dust cocoons. The blue rest-frame UV slopes of DSFGs are inconsistent with the suggestion that most DSFGs at z similar to 2 exhibit steady-Statestar formation in secular disks.

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Citation

Casey, C. M., N. Z. Scoville, David B. Sanders, Nicholas Lee, A. Cooray, S. L. Finkelstein, P. Capak et al. "Are Dusty Galaxies Blue? Insights on UV Attenuation from Dust-selected Galaxies." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 796, No. 2 (Dec., 2014): 95.