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Cosmic happenstance: 24-mum selected, multicomponent Herschel sources are line-of-sight projections
Scudder, Jillian M.; Oliver, Seb; Hurley, Peter D.; Wardlow, Julie L.; Wang, Lingyu; Farrah, Duncan
AA(Department of Physics and Astronomy, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 44074, USA; Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK 0000-0002-8798-3972), AB(Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK), AC(Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK 0000-0001-8393-8544), AD(Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, Department of Physics, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK 0000-0003-2376-8971), AE(SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Landleven 12, NL-9747 AD Groningen, the Netherlands; Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, NL-9700 AV Groningen, the Netherlands), AF(Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2505 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA; Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 480, Issue 3, p.4124-4137 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
galaxies: high redshift, galaxies: starburst, galaxies: star formation, galaxies: statistics
Abstract Copyright:
2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


In this paper, we investigate the physical associations between blended far-infrared (FIR)-emitting galaxies, in order to identify the level of line-of-sight projection contamination in the single-dish Herschel data. Building on previous work, and as part of the Herschel Extragalactic Legacy Project, we identify a sample of galaxies in the COSMOS field, which are found to be both FIR-bright (typically ˜15 mJy) and blended within the Herschel 250-mu m beam. We identify a spectroscopic or photometric redshift for each FIR-bright source. We conduct a joint probability distribution analysis on the redshift probability density functions to determine the fraction of the FIR sources with multiple FIR-bright counterparts that are likely to be found at consistent (Deltaz < 0.01) redshifts. We find that only three (0.4 per cent) of the pair permutations between counterparts are >50 per cent likely to be at consistent redshifts. A majority of counterparts (72 per cent) have no overlap in their redshift probability distributions whatsoever. This is in good agreement with the results of recent simulations, which indicate that single-dish observations of the FIR sky should be strongly contaminated by line-of-sight projection effects. We conclude that for our sample of 3.6- and 24-mu m selected, FIR-bright objects in the COSMOS field, the overwhelming majority of multicomponent FIR systems are line-of-sight projections within the 18.1-arcsec Herschel beam, rather than physical associations.
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