No Need for Extreme Stellar Masses at z ∼ 7: A Test-case Study of COS-87259

van Mierlo, Sophie E. and Caputi, Karina I. and Kokorev, Vasily (2023) No Need for Extreme Stellar Masses at z ∼ 7: A Test-case Study of COS-87259. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 945 (2). L21. ISSN 2041-8205

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Recent controversy regarding the existence of massive ($\mathrm{log}({M}_{* }/{M}_{\odot })\gtrsim 11$) galaxies at z > 6 poses a challenge for galaxy formation theories. Hence, it is of critical importance to understand the effects of SED fitting methods on stellar mass estimates of Epoch of Reionization galaxies. In this work, we perform a case study on the AGN host galaxy candidate COS-87259, with spectroscopic redshift zspec = 6.853, that is claimed to have an extremely high stellar mass of $\mathrm{log}({M}_{* }/{M}_{\odot })\sim 11.2$. We test a suite of different SED fitting algorithms and stellar population models on our independently measured photometry in 17 broad bands for this source. Between five different code setups, the stellar mass estimates for COS-87259 span $\mathrm{log}({M}_{* }/{M}_{\odot })=10.24$–11.00, while the reduced χ2 values of the fits are all close to unity within ${\rm{\Delta }}{\chi }_{\nu }^{2}=1.2$, such that the quality of the SED fits is basically indistinguishable. Only when we adopt a nonparametric star formation history model within Prospector do we retrieve a stellar mass exceeding $\mathrm{log}({M}_{* }/{M}_{\odot })=11$. Although the derived stellar masses change when using previously reported photometry for this source, the nonparametric SED-fitting method always yields the highest values. As these models are becoming increasingly popular for James Webb Space Telescope high-redshift science, we stress the absolute importance of testing various SED fitting routines particularly on apparently very massive galaxies at such high redshifts.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Eprints STM archive > Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email admin@eprints.stmarchive
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 09:43
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2023 07:44

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