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Measuring the cosmic star-formation rate density using deep radio surveys

  • T. Dwelly (a1), N. Seymour (a2), I. M. McHardy (a1), D. Moss (a1), M. Page (a3), A. Hopkins (a4), N. Loaring (a5) and A. Zhogbi (a1)...

Extract

There is now good agreement between the various methods of estimating the space density of the star-formation rate (SFRD) at low redshifts (z < 1), with uncertainties around 30–50%. However, the situation at higher redshifts remains much less clear, with uncertainties in the SFRD, due to e.g. poorly known dust absorption corrections, of as much as 300–500%. Radio emission from star-forming galaxies is unaffected by absorption and scales linearly with star-formation rate, thus the radio luminosity of star-forming galaxies provides an excellent independent, unbiased measure of their star-formation rate. The current deepest ‘blank field’ radio surveys (reaching <10 μJy rms at 1.4 GHz) are sensitive enough to detect starburst galaxies out to z ~ 3, and so potentially offer an excellent way to measure the SFRD. Indeed, modelling of the sub-mJy source counts requires an additional population of faint steep spectrum objects, that are very likely to be starburst galaxies.

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References

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Hopkins, A. M. & Beacom, J. F. 2006, ApJ 651, 142
Lacy, M., et al. 2004, ApJS, 154, 166
Muxlow, T., et al. 2005, MNRAS, 358, 1159
Seymour, N., et al. 2004, MNRAS, 352, 131
Yun, M. S., Reddy, N. A., & Condon, J. J. 2001, ApJ, 554, 803
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