SPICA and the Chemical Evolution of Galaxies: The Rise of Metals and Dust

Abstract : The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last $\sim 11\, \rm{Gyr}$ cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at $1 < z < 3$. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared (IR) observatory like SPICA will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-IR range in galaxies at high-$z$. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to $z \sim 3$, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-$z$. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.
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Contributor : Marie-Paule Pomies <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 9, 2017 - 10:15:42 AM
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J. A. Fernández-Ontiveros, L. Armus, M. Baes, J. Bernard-Salas, A. D. Bolatto, et al.. SPICA and the Chemical Evolution of Galaxies: The Rise of Metals and Dust. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2017, 34, pp.id.e053. ⟨10.1017/pasa.2017.43⟩. ⟨hal-01613007⟩



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