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The physical and photometric properties of high-redshift galaxies in cosmological hydrodynamic simulations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • K. Finlator
  • R. Davé
  • C. Papovich
  • L. Hernquist

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-694
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2006


We study the physical and photometric properties of galaxies at z = 4 in cosmological hydrodynamic simulations of a ACDM universe. We focus on galaxies satisfying the "B dropout" criteria of the Great Observatories Origins DEEP Survey (GOODS). Our simulations predict that high-redshift galaxies show strong correlations in star formation rate (SFR) versus stellar mass, and weaker correlations versus environment and age, such that B dropouts are predicted to be the most massive, most rapidly star-forming galaxies at z = 4, living preferentially in dense regions. The simulated rest-frame UV luminosity function (LF) and integrated luminosity density are in broad agreement with observations at z ∼ 4. The predicted faint-end slope is intrinsically steep but becomes shallower and is in reasonable agreement with data once GOODS selection criteria are imposed. At the bright end, there may be a modest excess of bright, rapidly star-forming galaxies. The predicted rest-frame optical LF is approximately 1 mag brighter than the rest-frame UV LF. We predict that GOODS B dropouts represent less than 50% of the total stellar mass density formed in galaxies more massive than log (M*/M) > 8.7 by z = 4, mainly because of brightness limits in the HSTACS bands. Most of these results are somewhat sensitive to the effects of dust extinction. On average, simulated B dropouts are less metal enriched than observed low-redshift galaxies of similar stellar mass by ≈0.6 dex. Two simulated B dropouts exhibit SFRs exceeding 1000 M yr-1, similar to observed submillimeter galaxies. These galaxies are quite massive but are not undergoing starbursts; their SFRs only mildly exceed (by ∼2-3 times) the SFRs that would be expected for their stellar mass. Finally, the overall distribution of dust reddening and mean stellar age may be constrained from color-color plots although the specific value for each galaxy cannot.

    Research areas

  • Cosmology: theory, Galaxies: evolution, Galaxies: formation galaxies: high-redshift, Galaxies: photometry, Galaxies: stellar content

ID: 145370882