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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A sub-millimetre survey of dust enshrouded galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field region Borys, Colin James Kelvin

Abstract

This thesis investigates the emission of sub-millimetre-wave radiation from galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field North region. The data were obtained from dedicated observing runs from our group and others using the SCUBA camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. The data were combined using techniques specifically developed here for low signal-to-noise source recovery. The sources found represent over 10% of all cosmological sources SCUBA has detected since it was commissioned. The number of sub-mm galaxies we detect account for a significant fraction of the sub-mm background, and we show that mild extrapolations can reproduce it entirely. We comment on their clustering properties, both with themselves and other high-redshift galaxy types. A multi-wavelength analysis of these galaxies shows that SCUBA sources do not all have similar properties, and are made of a collection including: star-forming radio galaxies; optically invisible objects; active galactic nuclei; and extremely red objects. Reasonable attempts to determine the redshift distribution of the sample show that SCUBA galaxies have a median redshift of around 2, and suggest that the global star formation rate may be dominated by such objects at redshifts beyond about 1. The thesis summarises the current state of extra-galactic sub-mm astronomy, and comments on how new surveys and detectors will allow us to place stronger constraints on the evolution properties of the high-redshift Universe.

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