Lyman break and ultraviolet-selected galaxies at z ˜ 1 - I. Stellar populations from the ALHAMBRA survey

Oteo, I.; Bongiovanni, Á.; Cepa, J.; Pérez-García, A. M.; Ederoclite, A.; Sánchez-Portal, M.; Pintos-Castro, I.; Pérez-Martínez, R.; Polednikova, J.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Alfaro, E. J.; Aparicio-Villegas, T.; Benítez, N.; Broadhurst, T.; Cabrera-Caño, J.; Castander, F. J.; Cerviño, M.; Cristobal-Hornillos, D.; Fernandez-Soto, A.; Gonzalez-Delgado, R. M.; Husillos, C.; Infante, L.; Martínez, V. J.; Márquez, I.; Masegosa, J.; Matute, I.; Moles, M.; Molino, A.; Olmo, A. del; Perea, J.; Pović, M.; Prada, F.; Quintana, J. M.; Viironen, K.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Advance Access. 21 pp. (2013).


We take advantage of the exceptional photometric coverage provided by the combination of GALEX data in the ultraviolet (UV) and the ALHAMBRA survey in the optical and near-infrared to analyse the physical properties of a sample of 1225 GALEX-selected Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) at 0.8 ≲ z ≲ 1.2 that are located in the COSMOS field. This is the largest sample of LBGs studied in this redshift range to date. According to a spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting with synthetic stellar population templates, we find that LBGs at z ˜ 1 are mostly young galaxies with a median age of 341 Myr and have intermediate dust attenuation, <Es(B - V)> ˜ 0.20. Owing to the selection criterion, LBGs at z ˜ 1 are UV-bright galaxies and have a high dust-corrected total star formation rate (SFR), with a median value of 16.9 Myr-1. Their median stellar mass is log (M*/M) = 9.74. We find that the dust-corrected total SFR of LBGs increases with stellar mass and that the specific SFR is lower for more massive galaxies (downsizing scenario). Only 2 per cent of the galaxies selected through the Lyman break criterion have an active galactic nucleus nature. LBGs at z ˜ 1 are located mostly over the blue cloud of the colour-magnitude diagram of galaxies at their redshift, with only the oldest and/or the dustiest deviating towards the green valley and red sequence. Morphologically, 69 per cent of LBGs are disc-like galaxies, with the fractions of interacting, compact, or irregular systems being much lower, below 12 per cent. LBGs have a median effective radius of 2.5 kpc, and larger galaxies have a higher total SFR and stellar mass. Compared with their high-redshift analogues, we find evidence that LBGs at lower redshifts are larger, redder in the UV continuum, and have a major presence of older stellar populations in their SEDs. However, we do not find significant differences in the distributions of stellar mass or dust attenuation.