ALMA 1.1 mm Observations of a Conservative Sample of High-redshift Massive Quiescent Galaxies in SHELA

Katherine Chworowsky, Steven L. Finkelstein, Justin S. Spilker, Gene C.K. Leung, Micaela B. Bagley, Caitlin M. Casey, Caryl Gronwall, Shardha Jogee, Rebecca L. Larson, Casey Papovich, Rachel S. Somerville, Matthew Stevans, Isak G.B. Wold, L. Y.Aaron Yung

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We present a sample of 30 massive (log(M */M ) > 11) z = 3-5 quiescent galaxies selected from the Spitzer-HETDEX Exploratory Large Area (SHELA) Survey and observed at 1.1 mm with Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Band 6 observations. These ALMA observations would detect even modest levels of dust-obscured star formation, on the order of ∼20 M yr−1 at z ∼ 4 at the 1σ level, allowing us to quantify the amount of contamination from dusty star-forming sources in our quiescent sample. Starting with a parent sample of candidate massive quiescent galaxies from the Stevans et al. v1 SHELA catalog, we use the Bayesian Bagpipes spectral energy distribution fitting code to derive robust stellar masses (M *) and star formation rates (SFRs) for these sources, and select a conservative sample of 36 candidate massive (M * > 1011 M ) quiescent galaxies, with specific SFRs >2σ below the Salmon et al. star-forming main sequence at z ∼ 4. Based on the ALMA imaging, six of these candidate quiescent galaxies show the presence of significant dust-obscured star formation, and thus were removed from our final sample. This implies a ∼17% contamination rate from dusty star-forming galaxies with our selection criteria using the v1 SHELA catalog. This conservatively selected quiescent galaxy sample at z = 3-5 will provide excellent targets for future observations to constrain better how massive galaxies can both grow and shut down their star formation in a relatively short period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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