AuthorBussmann, Robert Shane
Walker, Christopher K.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractI use observational evidence to examine the nature and role in galaxy evolution of a population of dust-obscured galaxies (DOGs) at z ∼ 2. These objects are selected with the Spitzer Space Telescope, are bright in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) but faint in the optical, and contribute a significant fraction of the luminosity density in the universe at z ∼ 2. The first component of my thesis is a morphological study using high spatial resolution imaging with the Hubble Space Telescope of two samples of DOGs. One set of 33 DOGs have mid-IR spectral features typical of an obscured active galactic nucleus (AGN) (called power-law DOGs), while the other set of 20 DOGs have a local maximum in their spectral energy distribution (SED) at rest-frame 1.6μm associated with stellar emission (called bump DOGs). The host galaxy dominates the light profile in all but two of these DOGs. In addition, bump DOGs are larger than power-law DOGs and exhibit more diffuse and irregular morphologies; these trends are consistent with expectations from simulations of major mergers in which bump DOGs evolve into power-law DOGs. The second component of my thesis is a study of the dust properties of DOGs, using sub-mm imaging of 12 power-law DOGs. These power-law DOGs are hyper- luminous (2 × 10¹³ L⊙) and have predominantly warm dust (T(dust) > 35 - 60 K). These results are consistent with an evolutionary sequence in which power-law DOGs represent a brief but important phase when AGN feedback heats the interstellar medium and quenches star-formation. The third component of my thesis is a study of the stellar masses and star- formation histories of DOGs, using stellar population synthesis models and broad- band photometry in the rest-frame ultra-violet, optical, and near-IR. The best-fit quantities indicate bump DOGs are less massive than power-law DOGs. The relatively low stellar masses found from this line of analysis favor a merger-driven origin for ULIRGs at z ∼ 2.
Degree ProgramGraduate College