The Synthetic Emission Line COSMOS Catalogue: Hα and [O II] Galaxy Luminosity Functions and Counts at 0.3 < Z < 2.5


Star-forming galaxies with strong nebular and collisional emission lines are privileged target galaxies in forthcoming cosmological large galaxy redshift surveys. We use the COSMOS2015 photometric catalogue to model galaxy spectral energy distributions and emission-line fluxes. We adopt an empirical but physically motivated model that uses information from the best-fitting spectral energy distribution of stellar continuum to each galaxy. The emission-line flux model is calibrated and validated against direct flux measurements in subsets of galaxies that have 3D-HST or zCOSMOS-Bright spectra. We take a particular care in modelling dust attenuation such that our model can explain both Hα and [O II] observed fluxes at different redshifts. We find that a simple solution to this is to introduce a redshift evolution in the dust attenuation fraction parameter, f = Estar(B − V)/Egas(B − V), as f(z) = 0.44 + 0.2z. From this catalogue, we derive the Hα and [O II] luminosity functions up to redshifts of about 2.5 after carefully accounting for emission line flux and redshift errors. This allows us to make predictions for Hα and [O II] galaxy number counts in next-generation cosmological redshift surveys. Our modelled emission lines and spectra in the COSMOS2015 catalogue shall be useful to study the target selection for planned next-generation galaxy redshift surveys and we make them publicly available as 'EL-COSMOS' on the ASPIC data base.



Keywords and Phrases

Galaxies: luminosity function; Surveys

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0035-8711; 1365-2966

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2020 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2020