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SPICA and the chemical evolution of galaxies: the rise of metals and dust

Fernandez-Ontiveros, J. A. and Matsuura, Mikako 2017. SPICA and the chemical evolution of galaxies: the rise of metals and dust. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia 34 , e053. 10.1017/pasa.2017.43

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Abstract

The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last 11Gyr 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 the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared (IR) observatory like SPICA, with its 2.5m mirror actively cooled down to 8K, will be able to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and will be sensitive enough to 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 can be used to determine 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 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. The possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1323-3580
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 14 September 2017
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2019 00:46
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/104683

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