Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The 11 Gyr Evolution of Star-forming galaxies: the HiZELS/H-alpha view
David Sobral, Leiden Observatory
I will present new deep and wide narrow-band surveys undertaken with UKIRT, Subaru and the VLT; a unique combined effort to select large, robust samples of H-alpha (Ha) emitters at z=0.40, 0.84, 1.47 and 2.23 (corresponding to look-back times of 4.2, 7.0, 9.2 and 10.6 Gyrs) in a uniform manner over ~2 sqdeg in the COSMOS and UDS fields. The deep multi-epoch Ha surveys are sensitive to Milky-Way SFRs out to z=2.2 for the first time, while the wide area and the coverage over two independent fields allows to greatly overcome cosmic variance. A total of over ~600 sources per epoch are homogeneously selected. Overall, the evolution seen in Ha is in good agreement with the evolution seen using inhomogeneous compilations of other tracers of star formation, such as FIR and UV, jointly pointing towards the bulk of the evolution in the last 11 Gyrs being driven by a strong luminosity/SFR increase from z~0 to z~2.2. Our uniform analysis allows to derive the Ha star formation history of the Universe, for which a simple time-parametrisation is a good approximation for the last 11Gyrs. Both the shape and normalisation of the Ha star formation history are consistent with the measurements of the stellar mass density growth, confirming that our Ha analysis traces the bulk of the formation of stars in the Universe up to z~2.2. We are also exploring the large, multi-epoch and homogeneously selected samples of Ha emitters to conduct detailed dynamics, dust, clustering, environment and mass studies which are providing us with a unique view on the evolution of star-forming galaxies and what has been driving it for the past 11 Gyrs.