The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3

The predominance of distant red galaxies

P. G. Van Dokkum, R. Quadri, D. Marchesini, G. Rudnick, M. Franx, E. Gawiser, D. Herrera, S. Wuyts, P. Lira, I. Labbé, J. Maza, G. D. Illingworth, N. M. Förster Schreiber, M. Kriek, H. W. Rix, E. N. Taylor, S. Toft, T. Webb, Sukyoung Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using the deep multiwavelength MUSYC, GOODS, and FIRES surveys we construct a stellar mass-limited sample of galaxies at 2<z<3. The sample comprises 294 galaxies with M>1011 M distributed over four independent fields with a total area of almost 400 arcmin2. The mean number density of massive galaxies in this redshift range p(M > 10 11 M) = (2.2 ± 0.6) × 10-4 h703 Mpc-3. We present median values and 25th and 75th percentiles for the distributions of observed RAB magnitudes, observed J - Ks colors, and rest-frame ultraviolet continuum slopes, M/LV ratios, and U - V colors. The galaxies show a large range in all these properties. The "median galaxy" is faint in the observer's optical (RAB = 25.9), red in the observed near-IR (J - Ks = 2.48), has a rest-frame UV spectrum that is relatively flat in Fλ (β = -0.4), and rest-frame optical colors resembling those of nearby spiral galaxies (U - V = 0.62). We determine which galaxies would be selected as Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) or distant red galaxies (DRGs, having J - Ks > 2.3) in this mass-limited sample. By number DRGs make up 69% of the sample, and LBGs 20%, with a small amount of overlap. By mass DRGs make up 77%, and LBGs 17%. Neither technique provides a representative sample of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 as they only sample the extremes of the population. As we show here, multiwavelength surveys with high-quality photometry are essential for an unbiased census of massive galaxies in the early universe. The main uncertainty in this analysis is our reliance on photometric redshifts; confirmation of the results presented here requires extensive near-infrared spectroscopy of optically faint samples.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume638
Issue number2 II
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Feb 20

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space density
galaxies
color
infrared spectroscopy
census
near infrared
spiral galaxies
stellar mass
photometry
universe
slopes
continuums

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Van Dokkum, P. G. ; Quadri, R. ; Marchesini, D. ; Rudnick, G. ; Franx, M. ; Gawiser, E. ; Herrera, D. ; Wuyts, S. ; Lira, P. ; Labbé, I. ; Maza, J. ; Illingworth, G. D. ; Förster Schreiber, N. M. ; Kriek, M. ; Rix, H. W. ; Taylor, E. N. ; Toft, S. ; Webb, T. ; Yi, Sukyoung. / The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 : The predominance of distant red galaxies. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2006 ; Vol. 638, No. 2 II.
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abstract = "Using the deep multiwavelength MUSYC, GOODS, and FIRES surveys we construct a stellar mass-limited sample of galaxies at 21011 M⊙ distributed over four independent fields with a total area of almost 400 arcmin2. The mean number density of massive galaxies in this redshift range p(M > 10 11 M⊙) = (2.2 ± 0.6) × 10-4 h703 Mpc-3. We present median values and 25th and 75th percentiles for the distributions of observed RAB magnitudes, observed J - Ks colors, and rest-frame ultraviolet continuum slopes, M/LV ratios, and U - V colors. The galaxies show a large range in all these properties. The {"}median galaxy{"} is faint in the observer's optical (RAB = 25.9), red in the observed near-IR (J - Ks = 2.48), has a rest-frame UV spectrum that is relatively flat in Fλ (β = -0.4), and rest-frame optical colors resembling those of nearby spiral galaxies (U - V = 0.62). We determine which galaxies would be selected as Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) or distant red galaxies (DRGs, having J - Ks > 2.3) in this mass-limited sample. By number DRGs make up 69{\%} of the sample, and LBGs 20{\%}, with a small amount of overlap. By mass DRGs make up 77{\%}, and LBGs 17{\%}. Neither technique provides a representative sample of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 as they only sample the extremes of the population. As we show here, multiwavelength surveys with high-quality photometry are essential for an unbiased census of massive galaxies in the early universe. The main uncertainty in this analysis is our reliance on photometric redshifts; confirmation of the results presented here requires extensive near-infrared spectroscopy of optically faint samples.",
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Van Dokkum, PG, Quadri, R, Marchesini, D, Rudnick, G, Franx, M, Gawiser, E, Herrera, D, Wuyts, S, Lira, P, Labbé, I, Maza, J, Illingworth, GD, Förster Schreiber, NM, Kriek, M, Rix, HW, Taylor, EN, Toft, S, Webb, T & Yi, S 2006, 'The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3: The predominance of distant red galaxies', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 638, no. 2 II. https://doi.org/10.1086/501045

The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 : The predominance of distant red galaxies. / Van Dokkum, P. G.; Quadri, R.; Marchesini, D.; Rudnick, G.; Franx, M.; Gawiser, E.; Herrera, D.; Wuyts, S.; Lira, P.; Labbé, I.; Maza, J.; Illingworth, G. D.; Förster Schreiber, N. M.; Kriek, M.; Rix, H. W.; Taylor, E. N.; Toft, S.; Webb, T.; Yi, Sukyoung.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 638, No. 2 II, 20.02.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3

T2 - The predominance of distant red galaxies

AU - Van Dokkum, P. G.

AU - Quadri, R.

AU - Marchesini, D.

AU - Rudnick, G.

AU - Franx, M.

AU - Gawiser, E.

AU - Herrera, D.

AU - Wuyts, S.

AU - Lira, P.

AU - Labbé, I.

AU - Maza, J.

AU - Illingworth, G. D.

AU - Förster Schreiber, N. M.

AU - Kriek, M.

AU - Rix, H. W.

AU - Taylor, E. N.

AU - Toft, S.

AU - Webb, T.

AU - Yi, Sukyoung

PY - 2006/2/20

Y1 - 2006/2/20

N2 - Using the deep multiwavelength MUSYC, GOODS, and FIRES surveys we construct a stellar mass-limited sample of galaxies at 21011 M⊙ distributed over four independent fields with a total area of almost 400 arcmin2. The mean number density of massive galaxies in this redshift range p(M > 10 11 M⊙) = (2.2 ± 0.6) × 10-4 h703 Mpc-3. We present median values and 25th and 75th percentiles for the distributions of observed RAB magnitudes, observed J - Ks colors, and rest-frame ultraviolet continuum slopes, M/LV ratios, and U - V colors. The galaxies show a large range in all these properties. The "median galaxy" is faint in the observer's optical (RAB = 25.9), red in the observed near-IR (J - Ks = 2.48), has a rest-frame UV spectrum that is relatively flat in Fλ (β = -0.4), and rest-frame optical colors resembling those of nearby spiral galaxies (U - V = 0.62). We determine which galaxies would be selected as Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) or distant red galaxies (DRGs, having J - Ks > 2.3) in this mass-limited sample. By number DRGs make up 69% of the sample, and LBGs 20%, with a small amount of overlap. By mass DRGs make up 77%, and LBGs 17%. Neither technique provides a representative sample of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 as they only sample the extremes of the population. As we show here, multiwavelength surveys with high-quality photometry are essential for an unbiased census of massive galaxies in the early universe. The main uncertainty in this analysis is our reliance on photometric redshifts; confirmation of the results presented here requires extensive near-infrared spectroscopy of optically faint samples.

AB - Using the deep multiwavelength MUSYC, GOODS, and FIRES surveys we construct a stellar mass-limited sample of galaxies at 21011 M⊙ distributed over four independent fields with a total area of almost 400 arcmin2. The mean number density of massive galaxies in this redshift range p(M > 10 11 M⊙) = (2.2 ± 0.6) × 10-4 h703 Mpc-3. We present median values and 25th and 75th percentiles for the distributions of observed RAB magnitudes, observed J - Ks colors, and rest-frame ultraviolet continuum slopes, M/LV ratios, and U - V colors. The galaxies show a large range in all these properties. The "median galaxy" is faint in the observer's optical (RAB = 25.9), red in the observed near-IR (J - Ks = 2.48), has a rest-frame UV spectrum that is relatively flat in Fλ (β = -0.4), and rest-frame optical colors resembling those of nearby spiral galaxies (U - V = 0.62). We determine which galaxies would be selected as Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) or distant red galaxies (DRGs, having J - Ks > 2.3) in this mass-limited sample. By number DRGs make up 69% of the sample, and LBGs 20%, with a small amount of overlap. By mass DRGs make up 77%, and LBGs 17%. Neither technique provides a representative sample of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3 as they only sample the extremes of the population. As we show here, multiwavelength surveys with high-quality photometry are essential for an unbiased census of massive galaxies in the early universe. The main uncertainty in this analysis is our reliance on photometric redshifts; confirmation of the results presented here requires extensive near-infrared spectroscopy of optically faint samples.

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Van Dokkum PG, Quadri R, Marchesini D, Rudnick G, Franx M, Gawiser E et al. The space density and colors of massive galaxies at 2 < z < 3: The predominance of distant red galaxies. Astrophysical Journal. 2006 Feb 20;638(2 II). https://doi.org/10.1086/501045