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Astrophysical Journal


The centimeter-wave luminosity of local radio galaxies correlates well with their star formation rate. We extend this correlation to surveys of high-redshift radio sources to estimate the global star formation history. The star formation rate found from radio observations needs no correction for dust obscuration, unlike the values calculated from optical and ultraviolet data. Three deep radio surveys have provided catalogs of sources with nearly complete optical identifications and nearly 60% complete spectroscopic redshifts: the Hubble Deep Field and Flanking Fields at 12h + 62°, the SSA13 field at 13h + 42°, and the V15 field at 14h + 52°. We use the redshift distribution of these radio sources to constrain the evolution of their luminosity function. The epoch-dependent luminosity function is then used to estimate the evolving global star formation density. At redshifts less than 1, our calculated star formation rates are significantly larger than even the dust-corrected optically selected star formation rates; however, we confirm the rapid rise from z = 0 to z = 1 seen in those surveys.

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