Preparing for LSST data. Estimating the physical properties of z < 2.5 main-sequence galaxies

Riccio, G.; Małek, K.; Nanni, A.; Boquien, M.; Buat, V.; Burgarella, D.; Donevski, D.; Hamed, M.; Hurley, P.; Shirley, R.; Pollo, A.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Aims: We study how the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) data from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory can be employed to constrain the physical properties of normal star-forming galaxies (main-sequence galaxies). Because the majority of the observed LSST objects will have no auxiliary data, we use simulated LSST data and existing real observations to test the reliability of estimates of the physical properties of galaxies, such as their star formation rate (SFR), stellar mass (Mstar), and dust luminosity (Ldust). We focus on normal star-forming galaxies because they form the majority of the galaxy population in the universe and are therefore more likely to be observed with the LSST.
Methods: We performed a simulation of LSST observations and uncertainties of 50 385 real galaxies within the redshift range 0 < z < 2.5. In order to achieve this goal, we used the unique multi-wavelength data from the Herschel Extragalactic Legacy Project (HELP) survey. Our analysis focused on two fields, ELAIS N1 and COSMOS. To obtain the physical properties of the galaxies, we fit their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) using the Code Investigating GALaxy Emission. We simulated the LSST data by convolving the SEDs fitted by employing the multi-wavelength observations. We compared the main galaxy physical properties, such as SFR, Mstar, and Ldust obtained from the fit of the observed multi-wavelength photometry of galaxies (from the UV to the far-IR) to those obtained from the simulated LSST optical measurements alone.
Results: We present the catalogue of simulated LSST observations for 23 291 main-sequence galaxies in the ELAIS N1 field and for 9093 galaxies in the COSMOS field. It is available in the HELP virtual observatory. The stellar masses estimated based on the LSST measurements agree with the full UV to far-IR SED estimates because they mainly depend on the UV and optical emission, which is well covered by LSST in the considered redshift range. Instead, we obtain a clear overestimate of the dust-related properties (SFR, Ldust, Mstar) estimated with the LSST alone. They are highly correlated with redshift. We investigate the cause of this overestimate and conclude that it is related to an overestimate of the dust attenuation in both UV and near-IR. We find that it is necessary to employ auxiliary rest-frame mid-IR observations, simulated UV observations, or the far-UV attenuation (AFUV)-Mstar relation to correct for the overestimate. We also deliver the correction formula log10(SFRLSST/SFRreal) = 0.26 ⋅ z2 − 0.94 ⋅ z + 0.87. It is based on the 32 384 MS galaxies detected with Herschel.
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