The Star Formation Main Sequence in the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields

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Santini, P 
Fontana, A 
Castellano, M 
Criscienzo, MD 
Merlin, E 

We investigate the relation between the star formation rate (SFR) and the stellar mass, i.e. the Main Sequence (MS) relation of star-forming galaxies, at 1.3 <= z < 6 in the first four HST Frontier Fields, based on rest-frame UV observations. Gravitational lensing combined with deep HST observations allows us to extend the analysis of the MS down to stellar masses as low as logM/Msun~7.5 at z<~4 and logM/Msun~8 at higher redshifts, a factor of ~10 below most previous results. We perform an accurate simulation to take into account the effect of observational uncertainties on the MS and correct for the Eddington bias. This step allows us to reliably measure the MS and in particular its slope. While the normalization increases with redshift, we fit an unevolving and approximately linear slope. We nicely extend to lower masses the results of brighter surveys. Thanks to the large dynamic range in mass for this galaxy sample and by making use of the simulation, we analyzed any possible dependence of the dispersion around the MS on the stellar mass. We find tentative evidence that the scatter decreases with increasing stellar masses, suggesting a larger variety of star formation histories in low mass galaxies. This trend agrees with the predictions of theoretical models of galaxy evolution, and is explained as either a consequence of the smaller number of progenitors of low mass galaxies in a hierarchical scenario and/or of the efficient but intermittent stellar feedback processes in low mass halos. Finally, we observe an increase in the sSFR with redshift milder than predicted by theoretical models, implying a still incomplete theoretical understanding of the processes responsible for galaxy growth.

galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: star formation
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Astronomy and Astrophysics
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EDP Sciences
European Research Council (695671)
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme ASTRODEEP (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n◦ 312725. MJM acknowledges the support of the National Science Centre, Poland through the POLONEZ grant 2015/19/P/ST9/04010. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sk lodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 665778.