, Volume 276, Issue 2-4, pp 791-798

The Nature of the Faint Radio Source Population and Star Formation History derived from Sub-MJY Surveys

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We present new results on the nature of the faint radio galaxy population obtained from a deep identification study in the Marano Field. This work represents the highest identification fractions attained to date in literature for sub-mJy radio samples. Star-forming galaxies constitute a significant fraction of the optical counterparts of sub-mJy radio sources, although they are not the dominant identification class (as formerly believed). We also present a new determination of the co-moving star formation density from z=0 to z≃0.35 using the radio luminosity function of star-forming galaxies. For the local determination, we used a sample of 231 spiral galaxies taken from the B≤12 Revised Shapley-Ames Catalogue, while for the non-local determination, we used a sample of87 star-forming galaxies taken from the Benn et al. (1993) sample. The inferred local star formation rate is about twice as great as the Hα estimate, while the intermediate 0.05<z<0.35 star formation rate is consistent with coeval ultraviolet and Hα estimates. This is due to large-scale structure, rarely accounted for in estimates of the cosmic star formation history; the situation could improve significantly with deep moderate-area radio surveys.