Abstract / Description of output
We present the results of a study which uses spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting to investigate the evolution of the equivalent width (EW) of the Hα emission line in star-forming galaxies over the redshift interval 1 < z < 5. After first demonstrating the ability of our SED-fitting technique to recover EW(Hα) using a sample of galaxies at z ≃ 1.3 with EW(Hα) measurements from 3D-HST grism spectroscopy, we proceed to apply our technique to samples of spectroscopically confirmed and photometric-redshift selected star-forming galaxies at z ≥ 1 in the CANDELS (Cosmic Assembly Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey) UDS and GOODS-S fields. Confining our analysis to a constant stellar mass range (9.5 < log (M⋆/M⊙) < 10.5), we find that the median EW(Hα) evolves only modestly with redshift, reaching a rest-frame value of EW(Hα) =301 ± 30 Å by redshift z ≃ 4.5. Furthermore, using estimates of star formation rate (SFR) based on both UV luminosity and Hα line flux, we use our galaxy samples to compare the evolution of EW(Hα) and specific star formation rate (sSFR). Our results indicate that over the redshift range 1 < z < 5, the evolution displayed by EW(Hα) and sSFR is consistent, and can be adequately parametrized as ∝ (1 + z)1.0 ± 0.2. As a consequence, over this redshift range, we find that the sSFR and rest-frame EW(Hα) of star-forming galaxies with stellar masses M⋆≃1010M⊙ are related by EW(Hα)/Å = (63 ± 7) × sSFR/Gyr−1. Given the current uncertainties in measuring the SFRs of high-redshift galaxies, we conclude that EW(Hα) provides a useful independent tracer of sSFR for star-forming galaxies out to redshifts of z = 5.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics