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Physics and Astronomy


We compare common star formation rate (SFR) indicators in the local Universe in the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) equatorial fields (∼160 deg2), using ultraviolet (UV) photometry from GALEX, far-infrared and sub-millimetre (sub-mm) photometry from Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey, and Hα spectroscopy from the GAMA survey. With a high-quality sample of 745 galaxies (median redshift z = 0.08), we consider three SFR tracers: UV luminosity corrected for dust attenuation using the UV spectral slope β (SFRUV, corr), Hα line luminosity corrected for dust using the Balmer decrement (BD) (SFRH α, corr), and the combination of UV and infrared (IR) emission (SFRUV + IR). We demonstrate that SFRUV, corr can be reconciled with the other two tracers after applying attenuation corrections by calibrating Infrared excess (IRX; i.e. the IR to UV luminosity ratio) and attenuation in the Hα (derived from BD) against β. However, β, on its own, is very unlikely to be a reliable attenuation indicator. We find that attenuation correction factors depend on parameters such as stellar mass (M∗), z and dust temperature (Tdust), but not on Hα equivalent width or Sersic index. Due to the large scatter in the IRX versus β correlation, when compared to SFRUV + IR, the β-corrected SFRUV, corr exhibits systematic deviations as a function of IRX, BD and Tdust.


This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Copyright: 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Information

Wang, L., et al. "GAMA/H-ATLAS: Common Star-Formation Rate Indicators and Their Dependence on Galaxy Physical Parameters." 2016. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 461(2): 1898-1916.