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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof David Alexander

Pope, A., Bussmann, R.S., Dey, A., Meger, N., Alexander, D.M., Brodwin, M., Chary, R.-R., Dickinson, M.E., Frayer, D.T., Greve, T.R., Huynh, M., Lin, L., Morrison, G., Scott, D. & Yan, C.-H. (2008). The nature of faint Spitzer-selected dust-obscured galaxies. The astrophysical journal 689(1): 127-133.

Author(s) from Durham


We use deep far-IR, submillimeter, radio, and X-ray imaging and mid-IR spectroscopy to explore the nature of a sample of Spitzer-selected dust-obscured galaxies (DOGs) in GOODS-N. A sample of 79 galaxies satisfy the criteria R-[24]>14 (Vega) down to S24>100 μJy (median flux density S24=180 μJy). Twelve of these galaxies have IRS spectra available, which we use to measure redshifts and classify these objects as being dominated by star formation or active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in the mid-IR. The IRS spectra and Spitzer photometric redshifts confirm that the DOGs lie in a tight redshift distribution around z~2. Based on mid-IR colors, 80% of DOGs are likely dominated by star formation; the stacked X-ray emission from this subsample of DOGs is also consistent with star formation. Since only a small number of DOGs are individually detected at far-IR and submillimeter wavelengths, we use a stacking analysis to determine the average flux from these objects and plot a composite IR (8-1000 μm) spectral energy distribution (SED). The average luminosity of these star-forming DOGs is LIR~1×1012 Lsolar. We compare the average star-forming DOG to the average bright (S850>5 mJy) submillimeter galaxy (SMG); the S24>100 μJy DOGs are 3 times more numerous but 8 times less luminous in the IR. The far-IR SED shape of DOGs is similar to that of SMGs (average dust temperature of around 30 K), but DOGs have a higher mid-IR-to-far-IR flux ratio. The average star formation-dominated DOG has a star formation rate of 200 Msolar yr-1, which, given their space density, amounts to a contribution of 0.01 Msolar yr-1 Mpc-3 (or 5%-10%) to the star formation rate density at z~2.