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The infrared universe: The cosmic evolution of superstarbursts and massive black holes

  • D. B. Sanders (a1), C. M. Ishida (a2), J. M. Mazzarella (a3), S. Veilleux (a4), J. A. Surace (a5), O. Guyon (a2), J. B. Jensen (a6) and D.-C. Kim (a7) (a8)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2004

Our view of galaxy evolution has been dramatically enhanced by recent deep field surveys at far-infrared and submillimeter wavelengths. Current evidence suggests that the number density of the most luminous far-infrared sources evolves strongly with redshift, and that the luminosity density in the far-infrared/submillimeter may exceed that in the optical/ultraviolet by factors of 3−10 at redshifts z > 1. If true, then as much as 80-90% of the “activity” in galaxies at z > 1 may be hidden by dust. Surveys of complete samples of luminous infrared galaxies in the local Universe show that the majority, if not all objects with log $(L_{\rm ir}/L_\odot) \simgt 11.6$, appear to be major mergers of molecular gas-rich disks accompanied by dust-enshrouded nuclear starbursts and powerful AGN. If the majority of the deep-field sources are simply more distant analogs of local luminous infrared galaxies, then we may be witnessing at z ∼1−3 the primary epoch in the formation of spheroids and massive black holes. This major event in galaxy evolution is largely missed by current deep optical/ultraviolet surveys.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to:

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Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
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