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  The MOSDEF Survey: The first direct measurements of the nebular dust attenuation curve at high redshift

Reddy, N. A., Shapley, A. E., Kriek, M., Steidel, C. C., Shivaei, I., Sanders, R. L., et al. (2020). The MOSDEF Survey: The first direct measurements of the nebular dust attenuation curve at high redshift. The Astrophysical Journal, 902(2): 123. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abb674.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-91BA-3 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-91BB-2
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Reddy, Naveen A., Author
Shapley, Alice E., Author
Kriek, Mariska, Author
Steidel, Charles C., Author
Shivaei, Irene, Author
Sanders, Ryan L., Author
Mobasher, Bahram, Author
Coil, Alison L., Author
Siana, Brian, Author
Freeman, William R., Author
Azadi, Mojegan, Author
Fetherolf, Tara, Author
Leung, Gene, Author
Price, Sedona H.1, Author              
Zick, Tom, Author
Affiliations:
1Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_159889              

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 Abstract: We use a sample of 532 star-forming galaxies at redshifts z ∼1.4–2.6 with deep rest-frame optical spectra from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey to place the first constraints on the nebular attenuation curve at high redshift. Based on the first five low-order Balmer emission lines detected in the composite spectra of these galaxies (Hα through Hϵ), we derive a nebular attenuation curve that is similar in shape to that of the Galactic extinction curve, suggesting that the dust covering fraction and absorption/scattering properties along the lines of sight to massive stars at high redshift are similar to those of the average Milky Way sight line. The curve derived here implies nebular reddening values that are, on average, systematically larger than those derived for the stellar continuum. In the context of stellar population synthesis models that include the effects of stellar multiplicity, the difference in reddening of the nebular lines and stellar continuum may imply molecular cloud crossing timescales that are a factor of ≳3× longer than those inferred for local molecular clouds, star formation rates that are constant or increasing with time such that newly formed and dustier OB associations always dominate the ionizing flux, and/or that the dust responsible for reddening the nebular emission may be associated with nonmolecular (i.e., ionized and neutral) phases of the interstellar medium. Our analysis points to a variety of investigations of the nebular attenuation curve that will be enabled with the next generation of ground- and space-based facilities.

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 Dates: 2020-10-20
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abb674
Other: LOCALID: 3273600
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Title: The Astrophysical Journal
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Bristol; Vienna : IOP Publishing; IAEA
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 902 (2) Sequence Number: 123 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0004-637X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828215_3