Simulating JWST deep extragalactic imaging surveys and physical parameter recovery

Kauffman, O. B., Le Fevre, O., Ilbert, O., Chevallard, J., Williams, C. C., Curtis-Lake, E., Colina, L., Pérez-González, P. G., Pye, J. P., Caputi, K. I. (2020). Simulating JWST deep extragalactic imaging surveys and physical parameter recovery. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 640 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202037450

We present a new prospective analysis of deep multi-band imaging with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). In this work, we investigate the recovery of high-redshift 5< z< 12 galaxies through extensive image simulations of accepted JWST programs, including the Early Release Science in the EGS field and the Guaranteed Time Observations in the HUDF. We introduced complete samples of similar to 300 000 galaxies with stellar masses of log(M-*/M-circle dot) > 6 and redshifts of 0< z< 15, as well as galactic stars, into realistic mock NIRCam, MIRI, and HST images to properly describe the impact of source blending. We extracted the photometry of the detected sources, as in real images, and estimated the physical properties of galaxies through spectral energy distribution fitting. We find that the photometric redshifts are primarily limited by the availability of blue-band and near-infrared medium-band imaging. The stellar masses and star formation rates are recovered within 0.25 and 0.3 dex, respectively, for galaxies with accurate photometric redshifts. Brown dwarfs contaminating the z> 5 galaxy samples can be reduced to < 0.01 arcmin(-2) with a limited impact on galaxy completeness. We investigate multiple high-redshift galaxy selection techniques and find that the best compromise between completeness and purity at 5< z< 10 using the full redshift posterior probability distributions. In the EGS field, the galaxy completeness remains higher than 50% at magnitudes m(UV)< 27.5 and at all redshifts, and the purity is maintained above 80 and 60% at z<less than or equal to>7 and 10, respectively. The faint-end slope of the galaxy UV luminosity function is recovered with a precision of 0.1-0.25, and the cosmic star formation rate density within 0.1 dex. We argue in favor of additional observing programs covering larger areas to better constrain the bright end.

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