The bulge-disc decomposed evolution of massive galaxies at 1 <z <3 in CANDELS

V. A. Bruce*, J. S. Dunlop, R. J. McLure, M. Cirasuolo, F. Buitrago, R. A. A. Bowler, T. A. Targett, E. F. Bell, D. H. McIntosh, A. Dekel, S. M. Faber, H. C. Ferguson, N. A. Grogin, W. Hartley, D. D. Kocevski, A. M. Koekemoer, D. C. Koo, E. J. McGrath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present the results of a new and improved study of the morphological and spectral evolution of massive galaxies over the redshift range 1 <z <3. Our analysis is based on a bulge-disc decomposition of 396 galaxies with M* > 1011 M⊙ uncovered from the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3)/IR imaging within the Cosmological Evolution Survey (COSMOS) and UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) UDS survey fields. We find that, by modelling the H160 image of each galaxy with a combination of a de Vaucouleurs bulge (Sérsic index n = 4) and an exponential disc (n = 1), we can then lock all derived morphological parameters for the bulge and disc components, and successfully reproduce the shorter-wavelength J125, i814, v606 HST images simply by floating the magnitudes of the two components. This then yields sub-divided four-band HST photometry for the bulge and disc components which, with no additional priors, is well described by spectrophotometric models of galaxy evolution. Armed with this information, we are able to properly determine the masses and star formation rates for the bulge and disc components, and find that: (i) from z = 3 to 1 the galaxies move from disc dominated to increasingly bulge dominated, but very few galaxies are pure bulges/ellipticals by z = 1; (ii) while most passive galaxies are bulge dominated, and most star-forming galaxies disc dominated, 18 ± 5 per cent of passive galaxies are disc dominated, and 11 ± 3 per cent of star-forming galaxies are bulge dominated, a result which needs to be explained by any model purporting to connect star formation quenching with morphological transformations; (iii) there exists a small but significant population of pure passive discs, which are generally flatter than their star-forming counterparts (whose axial ratio distribution peaks at b/a ≃ 0.7); (iv) flatter/larger discs re-emerge at the highest star formation rates, consistent with recent studies of sub-mm galaxies, and with the concept of a maximum surface density for star formation activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1033
Number of pages33
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume444
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: spiral
  • galaxies: structure
  • SIMILAR-TO 2
  • DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
  • STAR-FORMING GALAXIES
  • EXTRAGALACTIC LEGACY SURVEY
  • REDSHIFT COMPACT GALAXIES
  • ULTRA DEEP FIELD
  • QUIESCENT GALAXIES
  • FORMATION RATES
  • COLD STREAMS
  • MULTIWAVELENGTH MEASUREMENT

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