UV star formation rates in the local universe

Samir Salim, R. Michael Rich, Stéphane Charlot, Jarle Brinchmann, Benjamin D. Johnson, David Schiminovich, Mark Seibert, Ryan Mallery, Timothy M. Heckman, Karl Forster, Peter G. Friedman, D. Christopher Martin, Patrick Morrissey, Susan G. Neff, Todd Small, Ted K. Wyder, Luciana Bianchi, José Donas, Young Wook Lee, Barry F. MadoreBruno Milliard, Alex S. Szalay, Barry Y. Welsh, Sukyoung K. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1253 Citations (Scopus)


We measure star formation rates (SFRs) of ≈50,000 optically selected galaxies in the local universe (z ≈0.1) - from gas-rich dwarfs to massive ellipticals. We obtain dust-corrected SFRs by fitting the GALEX (ultraviolet) and SDSS photometry to a library of dust-attenuated population synthesis models. For star-forming galaxies, our UV-based SFRs compare remarkably well with those from SDSS-measured emission lines (Hα). Deviations from perfect agreement are shown to be due to differences in the dust attenuation estimates. In contrast to Hα measurements, UV provides reliable SFRs for galaxies with weak Ha, and where Ha is contaminated with AGN emission (1/2 of the sample). Using full-SED SFRs, we calibrate a simple prescription that uses GALEX far- and near-UV magnitudes to produce dust-corrected SFRs for normal star-forming galaxies. The specific SFR is considered as a function of stellar mass for (1) star-forming galaxies with no AGNs, (2) those hosting an AGN, and (3) galaxies without Ha emission. We find that the three have distinct star formation histories, with AGNs lying intermediate between the star-forming and the quiescent galaxies. Star-forming galaxies without an AGN lie on a relatively narrow linear sequence. Remarkably, galaxies hosting a strong AGN appear to represent the massive continuation of this sequence. On the other hand, weak AGNs, while also massive, have lower SFRs, sometimes extending to the realm of quiescent galaxies. We propose an evolutionary sequence for massive galaxies that smoothly connects normal star-forming galaxies to quiescent galaxies via strong and weak AGNs. We confirm that some galaxies with no Ha show signs of star formation in the UV We derive a cosmic star formation density at z = 0.1 with significantly smaller total error than previous measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-292
Number of pages26
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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