The Bursty Star Formation Histories of Low-mass Galaxies at 0.4 < z < 1 Revealed by Star Formation Rates Measured From Hβ and FUV

December 2016 • 2016ApJ...833...37G

Authors • Guo, Yicheng • Rafelski, Marc • Faber, S. M. • Koo, David C. • Krumholz, Mark R. • Trump, Jonathan R. • Willner, S. P. • Amorín, Ricardo • Barro, Guillermo • Bell, Eric F. • Gardner, Jonathan P. • Gawiser, Eric • Hathi, Nimish P. • Koekemoer, Anton M. • Pacifici, Camilla • Pérez-González, Pablo G. • Ravindranath, Swara • Reddy, Naveen • Teplitz, Harry I. • Yesuf, Hassen

Abstract • We investigate the burstiness of star formation histories (SFHs) of galaxies at 0.4 < z < 1 by using the ratio of star formation rates (SFRs) measured from Hβ and FUV (1500 Å) (Hβ-to-FUV ratio). Our sample contains 164 galaxies down to stellar mass (M *) of 108.5 M in the CANDELS GOODS-N region, where Team Keck Redshift Survey Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy and Hubble Space Telescope/WFC3 F275W images from CANDELS and Hubble Deep UV Legacy Survey are available. When the ratio of Hβ- and FUV-derived SFRs is measured, dust extinction correction is negligible (except for very dusty galaxies) with the Calzetti attenuation curve. The Hβ-to-FUV ratio of our sample increases with M * and SFR. The median ratio is ∼0.7 at M * ∼ 108.5 M (or SFR ∼ 0.5 M yr-1) and increases to ∼1 at M * ∼ 1010 M (or SFR ∼ 10 M yr-1). At M * < 109.5 M , our median Hβ-to-FUV ratio is lower than that of local galaxies at the same M *, implying a redshift evolution. Bursty SFH on a timescale of a few tens of megayears on galactic scales provides a plausible explanation for our results, and the importance of the burstiness increases as M * decreases. Due to sample selection effects, our Hβ-to-FUV ratio may be an upper limit of the true value of a complete sample, which strengthens our conclusions. Other models, e.g., non-universal initial mass function or stochastic star formation on star cluster scales, are unable to plausibly explain our results.


IPAC Authors


Harry Teplitz

Senior Scientist