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Astrophysics

Title: Resolving the Submillimeter Background: the 850-micron Galaxy Counts

Abstract: Recent deep blank field submillimeter surveys have revealed a population of luminous high redshift galaxies that emit most of their energy in the submillimeter. The results suggest that much of the star formation at high redshift may be hidden to optical observations. In this paper we present wide-area 850-micron SCUBA data on the Hawaii Survey Fields SSA13, SSA17, and SSA22. Combining these new data with our previous deep field data, we establish the 850-micron galaxy counts from 2 mJy to 10 mJy with a >3-sigma detection limit. The area coverage is 104 square arcmin to 8 mJy and 7.7 square arcmin to 2.3 mJy. The differential 850-micron counts are well described by the function n(S)=N_0/(a+S^3.2), where S is the flux in mJy, N_0=3.0 x 10^4 per square degree per mJy, and a=0.4-1.0 is chosen to match the 850-micron extragalactic background light. Between 20 to 30 per cent of the 850-micron background resides in sources brighter than 2 mJy. Using an empirical fit to our >2 mJy data constrained by the EBL at lower fluxes, we argue that the bulk of the 850-micron extragalactic background light resides in sources with fluxes near 1 mJy. The submillimeter sources are plausible progenitors of the present-day spheroidal population.
Comments: 5 pages, accepted by The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
DOI: 10.1086/312054
Cite as: arXiv:astro-ph/9904126
  (or arXiv:astro-ph/9904126v1 for this version)

Submission history

From: Amy Barger [view email]
[v1] Sat, 10 Apr 1999 00:34:21 GMT (18kb)