A STUDY OF MASSIVE AND EVOLVED GALAXIES AT HIGH REDSHIFT

H. Nayyeri*, B. Mobasher, S. Hemmati, S. De Barros, H. C. Ferguson, T. Wiklind, T. Dahlen, M. Dickinson, M. Giavalisco, A. Fontana, M. Ashby, G. Barro, Y. Guo, N. P. Hathi, S. Kassin, A. Koekemoer, S. Willner, J. S. Dunlop, D. Paris, T. A. Targett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We use data taken as part of Hubble Space Telescope (HS7)/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) observations of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) to identify massive and evolved galaxies at 3 <z <4.5. This is performed using the strength of the Balmer break feature at rest-frame 3648 angstrom, which is a diagnostic of the age of the stellar population in galaxies. Using the WFC3 H-band-selected catalog for the CANDELS GOODS-S field and deep multi-waveband photometry from optical (HST) to mid-infrared (Spitzer) wavelengths, we identify a population of old and evolved post-starburst galaxies based on the strength of their Balmer breaks (Balmer break galaxies, BBGs). The galaxies are also selected to be bright in rest-frame near-IR wavelengths and hence massive. We identify a total of 16 BBGs. Fitting the spectral energy distribution of the BBGs shows that the candidate galaxies have average estimated ages of similar to 800 Myr and average stellar masses of similar to 5 x 10(10) M-circle dot, consistent with being old and massive systems. Two of our BBG candidates are also identified by the criteria that are sensitive to star-forming galaxies (Lyman break galaxy selection). We find a number density of similar to 3.2 x 10(-5) Mpc(-3) for the BBGs, corresponding to a mass density of similar to 2.0 x 10(6) M-circle dot Mpc(-3) in the redshift range covering the survey. Given the old age and the passive evolution, it is argued that some of these objects formed the bulk of their mass only a few hundred million years after the big bang.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume794
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • galaxies: evolution
  • STAR-FORMING GALAXIES
  • LYMAN-BREAK GALAXIES
  • DARK-MATTER HALOES
  • LY-ALPHA EMISSION
  • DEEP-FIELD-SOUTH
  • ULTRAVIOLET LUMINOSITY DENSITY
  • EXTRAGALACTIC LEGACY SURVEY
  • REST-FRAME ULTRAVIOLET
  • EXTREMELY RED H
  • SIMILAR-TO 4

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