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Australian Human Resources Institute Diversity Awards 2013 Finalist

Elisabete da Cunha (MPIA)

"The cosmic evolution of molecular gas in galaxies: predictions for (sub-)millimeter line and continuum deep fields"

Abstract. Modern (sub-)millimeter/radio interferometers such as ALMA, JVLA and the PdBI successor NOEMA will enable us to measure the dust and molecular gas emission from galaxies that have luminosities lower than the Milky Way, out to high redshifts and with unprecedented spatial resolution and sensitivity. This will provide new constraints on the star formation properties and gas reservoir in galaxies throughout cosmic times through dedicated deep field campaigns targeting the CO/[CII] lines and dust continuum emission in the (sub-)millimeter regime. I will present empirical predictions for such line and continuum deep fields. We base these predictions on the deepest available optical/near-infrared data on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Using the physically-motivated spectral energy distribution model MAGPHYS, we fit the observed optical/near-infrared emission of 13,099 galaxies with redshifts up to z=5, and obtain estimates of their stellar mass, star formation rate, dust attenuation and dust luminosity. We combine the attenuated stellar spectra with a library of infrared emission models spanning a wide range of dust temperatures to derive statistical constraints on the dust emission in the infrared and (sub-)millimeter which are consistent with the observed optical/near-infrared emission in terms of energy balance. Our method allows us to estimate, for each galaxy, the (sub-)millimeter continuum flux densities, as well as the CO and [CII] line luminosities (using empirical relations between these line luminosities and the infrared luminosity of star-forming galaxies). We use our predictions to discuss possible deep field strategies with ALMA, and compare them with a first molecular scan obtained with the PdBI. I will also briefly discuss the effect of the cosmic microwave background on high-redshift (sub-)millimeter observations.

Held in the AAO Meeting Room (Room 7, 1st Floor, Building 2) at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, 19 February 2014