James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 6/13/2024

Harvard ADS: Unveiling the (in)consistencies among the galaxy stellar mass function, star formation histories, satellite abundances and intracluster light from a semi-empirical perspective

Paper abstract: In a hierarchical, dark matter-dominated Universe, stellar mass functions (SMFs), galaxy merger rates, star formation histories (SFHs), satellite abundances, and intracluster light, should all be intimately connected observables. However, the systematics affecting observations still prevent universal and uniform measurements of, for example, the SMF and the SFHs, inevitably preventing theoretical models to compare with multiple data sets robustly and simultaneously. We here present our holistic semi-empirical model DECODE (Discrete statistical sEmi-empiriCal mODEl) that converts via abundance matching dark matter merger trees into galaxy assembly histories, using different SMFs in input and predicting all other observables in output in a fully data-driven and self-consistent fashion with minimal assumptions. We find that: 1) weakly evolving or nearly constant SMFs below the knee (M_* <~ 10^{11} \, M_\odot) are the best suited to generate star formation histories aligned with those inferred from MaNGA, SDSS, GAMA, and, more recently, JWST; 2) the evolution of satellites after infall only affects the satellite abundances and star formation histories of massive central galaxies but not their merger histories; 3) the resulting SFR-M_* relation is lower in normalization by a factor of ~ 2 with respect to observations, with a flattening at high masses more pronounced in the presence of mergers; 4) the latest data on intracluster light can be reproduced if mass loss from mergers is included in the models. Our findings are pivotal in acting as pathfinder to test the self-consistency of the high-quality data from, e.g., JWST and Euclid.