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2004ApJ...604..534S - Astrophys. J., 604, 534-550 (2004/April-1)

A survey of star-forming galaxies in the 1.4≲Z≲ 2.5 redshift desert: overview.


Abstract (from CDS):

The redshift interval 1.4≲z≲2.5 has been described by some as the ``redshift desert'' because of historical difficulties in spectroscopically identifying galaxies in that range. In fact, galaxies can be found in large numbers with standard broadband color selection techniques coupled with follow-up spectroscopy with UV and blue-sensitive spectrographs. In this paper we present the first results of a large-scale survey of such objects, carried out with the blue channel of the LRIS spectrograph (LRIS-B) on the Keck I Telescope. We introduce two samples of star-forming galaxies, ``BX'' galaxies at <z≥2.20±0.32 and ``BM'' galaxies at <z≥1.70±0.34. In seven survey fields we have spectroscopically confirmed 749 of the former and 114 of the latter. Interlopers (defined as objects at z<1) account for less than 10% of the photometric candidates, and the fraction of faint active galactic nuclei is ∼3% in the combined BX/BM sample. Deep near-IR photometry of a subset of the BX sample indicates that, compared with a sample of similarly UV-selected galaxies at z∼3, the z∼2 galaxies are on average significantly redder in (R-Ks), indicating longer star formation histories, increased reddening by dust, or both. Using near-IR Hα spectra of a subset of BX/BM galaxies to define the galaxies' systemic redshifts, we show that the galactic-scale winds that are a feature of star-forming galaxies at z∼3 are also common at later epochs and have similar bulk outflow speeds of 200-300 km/s. We illustrate with examples the information that can be deduced on the stellar populations, metallicities, and kinematics of redshift desert galaxies from easily accessible rest-frame far-UV and rest-frame optical spectra. Far from being hostile to observations, the universe at z∼2 is uniquely suited to providing information on the astrophysics of star-forming galaxies and the intergalactic medium, and the relationship between the two.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Cosmology: Observations - Galaxies: Evolution - Galaxies: High-Redshift - Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics - Galaxies: Starburst - Stars: Formation

Nomenclature: Table 4: [ESS2003] QHHMM-AANNNN N=6. Table 4: [SSP2004] GWS-AANNNN, [SSP2004] HDF-AANNNN, [SSP2004] HDF-AAANNNN, N=5.

Simbad objects: 16

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