We present an analysis using the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey on the nature of "MIR-excess" galaxies, which have star formation rates (SFRs) inferred from mid-infrared (MIR) data that are substantially elevated relative to those estimated from dust-corrected UV data. We use a sample of ∼200 galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at 1.40 < z < 2.61 with 24 μm detections (rest-frame 8 μm) from MIPS/Spitzer. We find that the identification of MIR-excess galaxies strongly depends on the methodologies used to estimate IR luminosity (L1R) and to correct the UV light for dust attenuation. We find that extrapolations of the SFR from the observed 24 μm flux, using luminosity-dependent templates based on local galaxies, substantially overestimate in z ∼ 2 galaxies. By including Herschel observations and using a stellar-mass-dependent, luminosity-independent L1R, we obtain more reliable estimates of the SFR and a lower fraction of MIR-excess galaxies. Once stellar-mass selection biases are taken into account, we identify ∼24% of our galaxies as MIR excess. However, is not elevated in MIR-excess galaxies compared to MIR-normal galaxies, indicating that the intrinsic fraction of MIR excess may be lower. Using X-ray-, IR-, and optically selected AGNs in MOSDEF, we do not find a higher prevalence for AGNs in MIR-excess galaxies relative to MIR-normal galaxies. A stacking analysis of X-ray-undetected galaxies does not reveal a harder spectrum in MIR-excess galaxies relative to MIR-normal galaxies. Our analysis indicates that AGN activity does not contribute substantially to the MIR excess and instead implies that it is likely due to the enhanced polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission.
|State||Published - Oct 10 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the MOSFIRE instrument team for building this powerful instrument. Funding for the MOSDEF survey is provided by NSF AAG grants AST-1312780, 1312547, 1312764, and 1313171 and grant AR-13907 from the Space Telescope Science Institute. We acknowledge Mark Dickinson and Hanae Inami for providing part of the IR data used in this work. The data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
- galaxies: active
- galaxies: high-redshift
- galaxies: nuclei
- galaxies: star formation
- infrared: galaxies
- ultraviolet: galaxies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science