How Many Quiescent Galaxies are There at 3

  • Karl Glazebrook (Creator)
  • Themiya Nanayakkara (Creator)
  • James Esdaile (Creator)
  • Juan Manuel Espejo (Creator)
  • Colin Jacobs (Creator)
  • Glenn G. Kacprzak (Creator)
  • Ivo Labbé (Creator)
  • Danilo Marchesini (Creator)
  • Z. Cemile Marsan (Creator)
  • Pascal Oesch (Creator)
  • Casey Papovich (Creator)
  • Rhea-Silvia Remus (Creator)
  • Corentin Schreiber (Creator)
  • Caroline Straatman (Creator)
  • Kim Vy Tran (Creator)
  • Claudia Lagos Urbina (Creator)



We will find out.

This is important because massive quiescent galaxies at high-redshift have historically driven forward our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. Numerous spectroscopic confirmations have shown that these galaxies do exist at z>3, however the measured number densities are still highly uncertain and depend on large photometrically selected samples. Massive quiescent galaxies at high-redshift evolve rapidly and so constraining hydrodynamical simulations with precise number densities is critical.
To address this, a recent spectroscopic campaign to target 24 photometrically pre-selected quiescent galaxy candidates (z>3, stellar mass>2E10 Msun selection) was undertaken with MOSFIRE/Keck in H+K. Here only 12 galaxies were spectroscopically confirmed, 3 of which were highly uncertain, leaving a possible 12 quiescent galaxies still unconfirmed - many with continuum detections and no emission lines.
Here we propose to observe the 15 uncertain or unconfirmed quiescent galaxy candidates with JWST NIRSpec PRISM, which will allow wide field-of-view observations and continuous 0.6–5µm spectral coverage to efficiently measure their spectra and produce highly complete and definitive number densities and ages. These galaxies are the fainter ones in the quiescent galaxy candidate sample but not necessarily the least massive, as the older age populations will be less luminous. Confirming these massive galaxies would pose significant challenges for galaxy formation and evolution theories.
Date made availableMar 2021
PublisherSAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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