Spectral energy distribution of the first galaxies: Contribution from pre-main-sequence stars

Hiroto Mitani, Naoki Yoshida, Kazuyuki Omukai, Takashi Hosokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the major goals of next-generation space-borne and ground-based telescopes is to detect and characterize the first galaxies that were in place in the first few hundred million years after the big bang. We study the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the first galaxies and discuss the prospects for detection and identification. We consider very young star-forming galaxies at z = 15 and incorporate the contribution from pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars. Unlike in the present-day galaxies, primordial protostars are not embedded in dusty gas clouds, and hence the light from them can be visible at a wide range of wavelengths. We use mesa to follow the PMS evolution and use the BT-Settl model to calculate the SED of individual PMS stars. We show that PMS stars contribute to boost the flux in the mid-infrared, and that the galaxy SED at very early evolutionary phases is overall redder than at later phases. The infrared flux contribution is comparable to that caused by emission lines powered by massive stars. We argue that the contribution from PMS stars is important for characterizing young galaxies in the early Universe and also for target selection with future deep galaxy surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L64-L68
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 1


  • galaxies: evolution
  • stars: Population III
  • stars: pre-main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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