Vol 20, No 12

The intrinsic SFRF and sSFRF of galaxies: comparing SDSS observation with IllustrisTNG simulation

Ping Zhao, Haojie Xu, Antonios Katsianis, Xiao-Hu Yang


Abstract The star formation rate function (SFRF) and specific star formation rate function (sSFRF) from observations are impacted by the Eddington bias, due to uncertainties in the estimated star formation rate (SFR). We develop a novel method to correct the Eddington bias and obtain the intrinsic SFRF and sSFRF from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7. The intrinsic SFRF is in good agreement with measurements from previous data in the literature that relied on UV SFRs but its high star-forming end is slightly lower than the corresponding IR and radio tracers. We demonstrate that the intrinsic sSFRF from SDSS has a bimodal form with one peak found at sSFR ∼ 10−9.7 yr−1 representing the star-forming objects while the other peak is found at sSFR ∼ 10−12 yr−1 representing the quenched population. Furthermore, we compare our observations with the predictions from the IllustrisTNG and Illustris simulations and affirm that the “TNG” model performs much better than its predecessor. However, we show that the simulated SFRF and CSFRD of TNG simulations are highly dependent on resolution, reflecting the limitations of the model and today’s state-of-the-art simulations. We demonstrate that the bimodal, two peaked sSFRF implied by the SDSS observations does not appear in TNG regardless of the adopted box-size or resolution. This tension reflects the need for inclusion of an additional efficient quenching mechanism in the TNG model.


Keywords methods: statistical — galaxies: formation — galaxies: distances and redshifts — hydrodynamics

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