In the current era of high-z galaxy discovery with JWST and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, our ability to study the stellar populations and interstellar medium conditions in a diverse range of galaxies at Cosmic Dawn has rapidly improved. At the same time, the need to understand the current limitations in modeling galaxy formation processes and physical properties in order to interpret these observations is critical. Here, we study the challenges in modeling galaxy dust temperatures, both in the context of forward modeling galaxy spectral properties from a hydrodynamical simulation and via backwards modeling galaxy physical properties from mock observations of far-infrared dust emission. Using the simba model for galaxy formation combined with powderday radiative transfer, we can accurately predict the evolution of dust at high redshift, though several aspects of the model are essentially free parameters (dust composition, subresolution dust in star-forming regions) that dull the predictive power of the model dust temperature distributions. We also highlight the uncertainties in the backwards modeling methods, where we find the commonly used models and assumptions to fit far-infrared spectral energy distributions and infer dust temperatures (e.g., single temperature, optically thin modified blackbody) largely fail to capture the complexity of high-z dusty galaxies. We caution that conclusions inferred from both simulations—limited by resolution and post-processing techniques—and observations—limited by sparse data and simplistic model parameterizations—are susceptible to unique and nuanced uncertainties that can limit the usefulness of current high-z dust measurements.

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