Galaxy Evolution at High Redshift: Obscured Star Formation, GRB Rates, Cosmic Reionization, and Missing Satellites
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AbstractWe provide an holistic view of galaxy evolution at high redshift z>4, that incorporates the constraints from various astrophysical/cosmological probes, including the estimate of the cosmic SFR density from UV/IR surveys and long GRB rates, the cosmic reionization history after the latest Planck measurements, and the missing satellites issue. We achieve this goal in a model-independent way by exploiting the SFR functions derived by Mancuso et al. (2016) on the basis of an educated extrapolation of the latest UV/far-IR data from HST/Herschel, and already tested against a number of independent observables. Our SFR functions integrated down to an UV magnitude limit M_UV<-13 (or SFR limit around 10^-2 M_sun/yr) produces a cosmic SFR density in excellent agreement with recent determinations from IR surveys and, taking into account a metallicity ceiling Z<Z_sun/2, with the estimates from long GRB rates. They also yield a cosmic reionization history consistent with that implied by the recent measurements of the Planck mission on the electron scattering optical depth tau_es~0.058; remarkably, this result is obtained under a conceivable assumption regarding the average value f_esc~0.1 of the escape fraction for ionizing photons. We demonstrate via the abundance matching technique that the above constraints concurrently imply galaxy formation to become inefficient within dark matter halos of mass below a few 10^8 M_sun; pleasingly, such a limit is also required not to run into the missing satellite issue. Finally, we predict a downturn of the galaxy luminosity function faintward of M_UV<-12, and stress that its detailed shape, as plausibly probed in the next future by the JWST, will be extremely informative on the astrophysics of galaxy formation in small halos, or even on the microscopic nature of the dark matter.