The Grism Lens-amplified Survey from Space (GLASS). X. Sub-kiloparsec Resolution Gas-phase Metallicity Maps at Cosmic Noon behind the Hubble Frontier Fields Cluster MACS1149.6+2223

March 2017 • 2017ApJ...837...89W

Authors • Wang, Xin • Jones, Tucker A. • Treu, Tommaso • Morishita, Takahiro • Abramson, Louis E. • Brammer, Gabriel B. • Huang, Kuang-Han • Malkan, Matthew A. • Schmidt, Kasper B. • Fontana, Adriano • Grillo, Claudio • Henry, Alaina L. • Karman, Wouter • Kelly, Patrick L. • Mason, Charlotte A. • Mercurio, Amata • Rosati, Piero • Sharon, Keren • Trenti, Michele • Vulcani, Benedetta

Abstract • We combine deep Hubble Space Telescope grism spectroscopy with a new Bayesian method to derive maps of gas-phase metallicity for 10 star-forming galaxies at high redshift (1.2≲ z≲ 2.3). Exploiting lensing magnification by the foreground cluster MACS1149.6+2223, we reach sub-kiloparsec spatial resolution and push the limit of stellar mass associated with such high-z spatially resolved measurements below {10}8 {M} for the first time. Our maps exhibit diverse morphologies, indicative of various effects such as efficient radial mixing from tidal torques, rapid accretion of low-metallicity gas, and other physical processes that can affect the gas and metallicity distributions in individual galaxies. Based upon an exhaustive sample of all existing sub-kiloparesec resolution metallicity gradient measurements at high z, we find that predictions given by analytical chemical evolution models assuming a relatively extended star-formation profile in the early disk-formation phase can explain the majority of observed metallicity gradients, without involving galactic feedback or radial outflows. We observe a tentative correlation between stellar mass and metallicity gradients, consistent with the “downsizing” galaxy formation picture that more massive galaxies are more evolved into a later phase of disk growth, where they experience more coherent mass assembly at all radii and thus show shallower metallicity gradients. In addition to the spatially resolved analysis, we compile a sample of homogeneously cross-calibrated integrated metallicity measurements spanning three orders of magnitude in stellar mass at z ∼ 1.8. We use this sample to study the mass-metallicity relation (MZR) and find that the slope of the observed MZR can rule out the momentum-driven wind model at a 3σ confidence level.


IPAC Authors


Takahiro Morishita

Assistant Scientist