2,991 research outputs found

    Cosmic Dawn: Studies of the Earliest Galaxies and Their Role in Cosmic Reionization

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    I review recent progress and challenges in studies of the earliest galaxies, seen when the Universe was less than 1 billion years old. Can they be used as reliable tracers of the physics of cosmic reionization thereby complementing other, more direct, probes of the evolving neutrality of the intergalactic medium? Were star-forming galaxies the primary agent in the reionization process and what are the future prospects for identifying the earliest systems devoid of chemical enrichment? Ambitious future facilities are under construction for exploring galaxies and the intergalactic medium in the redshift range 6 to 20, corresponding to what we now consider the heart of the reionization era. I review what we can infer about this period from current observations and in the near-future with existing facilities, and conclude with a list of key issues where future work is required.Comment: Proceedings of the 26th Solvay Conference on Physics: "Astrophysics and Cosmology", R. Blandford and A. Sevrin, eds., World Scientifi

    Faint Blue Galaxies

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    The physical properties of the faint blue galaxy population are reviewed in the context of observational progress made via deep spectroscopic surveys and Hubble Space Telescope imaging of field galaxies at various limits, and theoretical models for the integrated star formation history of the Universe. Notwithstanding uncertainties in the properties of the local population of galaxies, convincing evidence has emerged from several independent studies for a rapid decline in the volume-averaged star formation rate of field galaxies since a redshift z~1. Together with the small angular sizes and modest mean redshift of the faintest detectable sources, these results can be understood in hierarchical models where the bulk of the star formation occurred at redshifts between z~1-2. The physical processes responsible for the subsequent demise of the faint blue galaxy population remains unclear. Considerable progress will be possible when the evolutionary trends can be monitored in the context of independent physical parameters such as the underlying galactic mass.Comment: 42 pages with 10 embedded figures available in gzipped postscript from ftp://ftp.ast.cam.ac.uk/pub/rse/annrev97.ps.gz To appear in Annual Reviews Astron. Astrophys. Vol 35, (1997

    Nonequivalent ensembles and metastability

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    This paper reviews a number of fundamental connections that exist between nonequivalent microcanonical and canonical ensembles, the appearance of first-order phase transitions in the canonical ensemble, and thermodynamic metastable behavior.Comment: 4 pages, RevTeX, 1 figure. Contribution to the Proceedings of the 31st Workshop of the International School of Solid State Physics ``Complexity, Metastability and Nonextensivity'', held at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, Erice, Sicily, Italy, July 2004. Edited by C. Tsallis, A. Rapisarda and C. Beck. To be published by World Scientific, 200

    Refined Asymptotics of the Finite-Size Magnetization via a New Conditional Limit Theorem for the Spin

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    We study the fluctuations of the spin per site around the thermodynamic magnetization in the mean-field Blume-Capel model. Our main theorem generalizes the main result in a previous paper (Ellis, Machta, and Otto) in which the first rigorous confirmation of the statistical mechanical theory of finite-size scaling for a mean-field model is given. In that paper our goal is to determine whether the thermodynamic magnetization is a physically relevant estimator of the finite-size magnetization. This is done by comparing the asymptotic behaviors of these two quantities along parameter sequences converging to either a second-order point or the tricritical point in the mean-field Blume-Capel model. The main result is that the thermodynamic magnetization and the finite-size magnetization are asymptotic when the parameter α\alpha governing the speed at which the sequence approaches criticality is below a certain threshold α0\alpha_0. Our main theorem in the present paper on the fluctuations of the spin per site around the thermodynamic magnetization is based on a new conditional limit theorem for the spin, which is closely related to a new conditional central limit theorem for the spin.Comment: 78 pages, 2 figure

    Keck Spectroscopy of Faint 3 < z < 7 Lyman Break Galaxies: III. The Mean Ultraviolet Spectrum at z=4

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    We present and discuss the mean rest-frame ultraviolet spectrum for a sample of 81 Lyman Break Galaxies (LBGs) selected to be B-band dropouts with a mean redshift of z=3.9 and apparent magnitudes z_AB<26. Most of the individual spectra are drawn from our ongoing survey in the GOODS fields with the Keck DEIMOS spectrograph, and we have augmented our sample with published data taken with FORS2 on the VLT. In general we find similar trends in the spectral diagnostics to those found in the earlier, more extensive survey of LBGs at z=3 undertaken by Shapley et al (2003). Specifically, we find low-ionization absorption lines which trace the presence of neutral outflowing gas are weaker in galaxies with stronger Lyman-alpha emission, bluer UV spectral slopes, lower stellar masses, lower UV luminosities and smaller half-light radii. This is consistent with a physical picture whereby star formation drives outflows of neutral gas which scatters Lyman-alpha and gives rise to strong low-ionization absorption lines, while increasing the stellar mass, size, metallicity, and dust content of galaxies. Typical galaxies are thus expected to have stronger Lyman-alpha emission and weaker low-ionization absorption at earlier times (higher redshifts). Indeed, our mean spectrum at z=4 shows somewhat weaker low-ionization absorption lines than at z=3 and available data at higher redshift indicates a rapid decrease in low-ionization absorption strength with redshift. We argue that the reduced low-ionization absorption is likely caused by a decrease in the covering fraction and/or velocity range of outflowing neutral gas at earlier epochs. Our continuing survey will enable us to extend these diagnostics more reliably to higher redshift and determine the implications for the escape fraction of ionizing photons which governs the role of early galaxies in cosmic reionization. [Abridged]Comment: 17 pages, 12 figures, submitted to ApJ. Comments welcom