Dust attenuation, dust emission, and dust temperature in galaxies at z ≥ 5: A view from the FIRE-2 simulations

Xiangcheng Ma, Christopher C. Hayward, Caitlin M. Casey, Philip F. Hopkins, Eliot Quataert, Lichen Liang, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Robert Feldmann, Dušan Kereš

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91 Scopus citations


We present a suite of 34 high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations consisting of thousands of haloes up to Mhalo ~ 1012M (M ~ 1010.5M) at z ≥ 5 from the Feedback in Realistic Environments project. We post-process our simulations with a three-dimensional Monte Carlo dust radiative transfer code to study dust attenuation, dust emission, and dust temperature within these simulated z ≥ 5 galaxies. Our sample forms a tight correlation between infrared excess (IRXΞFIR/FUV) and ultraviolet (UV)-continuum slope (βUV), despite the patchy, clumpy dust geometry shown in our simulations.We find that the IRX.βUV relation is mainly determined by the shape of the attenuation lawand is independent of its normalization (set by the dust-to-gas ratio). The bolometric IR luminosity (LIR) correlates with the intrinsic UV luminosity and the star formation rate (SFR) averaged over the past 10Myr. We predict that at a given LIR, the peak wavelength of the dust spectral energy distributions for z ≥ 5 galaxies is smaller by a factor of 2 (due to higher dust temperatures on average) than at z = 0. The higher dust temperatures are driven by higher specific SFRs and SFR surface densities with increasing redshift. We derive the galaxy UV luminosity functions (UVLFs) at z = 5.10 from our simulations and confirm that a heavy attenuation is required to reproduce the observed bright-end UVLFs.We also predict the IR luminosity functions (IRLFs) and UV luminosity densities at z = 5.10. We discuss the implications of our results on current and future observations probing dust attenuation and emission in z ≥ 5 galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1844-1864
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • (ISM:) dust, extinction
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: high-redshift


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