GAMA/H-ATLAS: common star formation rate indicators and their dependence on galaxy physical parameters

L. Wang*, P. Norberg, M. L. P. Gunawardhana, S. Heinis, I. K. Baldry, J. Bland-Hawthorn, N. Bourne, S. Brough, M. J. I. Brown, M. E. Cluver, A. Cooray, E. da Cunha, S. P. Driver, L. Dunne, S. Dye, S. Eales, M. W. Grootes, B. W. Holwerda, A. M. Hopkins, E. IbarR. Ivison, C. Lacey, M. A. Lara-Lopez, J. Loveday, S. J. Maddox, M. J. Michałowski, I. Oteo, M. S. Owers, C. C. Popescu, D. J. B. Smith, E. N. Taylor, R. J. Tuffs, P. van der Werf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We compare common star formation rate (SFR) indicators in the local Universe in the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) equatorial fields (~160 deg2), using ultraviolet (UV) photometry from GALEX, far-infrared and sub-millimetre (sub-mm) photometry from Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey, and Hα spectroscopy from the GAMA survey. With a high-quality sample of 745 galaxies (median redshift 〈z〉 = 0.08), we consider three SFR tracers: UV luminosity corrected for dust attenuation using the UV spectral slope β (SFRUV, corr), Hα line luminosity corrected for dust using the Balmer decrement (BD) (SFRHα, corr), and the combination of UV and infrared (IR) emission (SFRUV + IR). We demonstrate that SFRUV, corr can be reconciled with the other two tracers after applying attenuation corrections by calibrating Infrared excess (IRX; i.e. the IR to UV luminosity ratio) and attenuation in the Hα (derived from BD) against β. However, β, on its own, is very unlikely to be a reliable attenuation indicator. We find that attenuation correction factors depend on parameters such as stellar mass (M*), z and dust temperature (Tdust), but not on Hα equivalent width or Sérsic index. Due to the large scatter in the IRX versus β correlation, when compared to SFRUV + IR, the β-corrected SFRUV, corr exhibits systematic deviations as a function of IRX, BD and Tdust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1898-1916
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2016


  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: statistics
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Methods: statistical
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies


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