The NEWFIRM HETDEX Survey: Photometric Catalog and a Conservative Sample of Massive Quiescent Galaxies at z=3-5 over 17.5 deg^2 in the SHELA Field

Matthew L. Stevans, Steven L. Finkelstein*, Lalitwadee Kawinwanichakij, Isak Wold, Casey Papovich, Rachel S. Somerville, L. Y. Aaron Yung, Sydney Sherman, Robin Ciardullo, Romeel Dave, Jonathan Florez, Caryl Gronwall, Shardha Jogee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present the results of a deep K_s-band (2.1 um) imaging survey of the Spitzer/HETDEX Exploratory Large Area (SHELA) field using the NEWFIRM near-infrared (NIR) camera on the KPNO Mayall 4-m telescope. This NEWFIRM HETDEX Survey (NHS) reaches a 5-sigma depth of 22.4 AB mag (2"-diameter apertures corrected to total), is ~50% and 90% complete at K~22.65 and K~22.15, respectively, and covers 22 deg^2 of the 24 deg^2 SHELA Spitzer/ IRAC footprint (within ``Stripe 82' of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey). We present a K_s-band-selected catalog which includes deep ugriz imaging from the Dark Energy Camera and 3.6 and 4.5 um imaging from Spitzer/IRAC, with forced-photometry of 1.7 million sources across 17.5 deg^2. The large area and moderate depth of this catalog enables the study of the most massive galaxies at high redshift, and minimizes uncertainties associated with counting statistics and cosmic variance. As a demonstration, we derive stellar masses (M*) and star-formation rates (SFRs) for candidate galaxies at 3 < z < 5, and select a conservative sample of nine candidate massive (M* > 10^11 Msol) quiescent galaxies, which have measured SFRs significantly below the main-sequence at this redshift. Five are ultra-massive with M* > 10^12, though uncertainties in IRAC blending, gravitational lensing, or AGN emission could result in true masses which are lower. Simulations predict that these galaxies should be extremely rare, thus we discuss what physical processes in models could be altered to allow the formation of such massive quiescent galaxies at such early times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume921
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • astro-ph.GA

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