THE PROGENITORS OF LOCAL ULTRA-MASSIVE GALAXIES ACROSS COSMIC TIME: FROM DUSTY STAR-BURSTING TO QUIESCENT STELLAR POPULATIONS

Danilo Marchesini*, Adam Muzzin, Mauro Stefanon, Marijn Franx, Gabriel G. Brammer, Cemile Z. Marsan, Benedetta Vulcani, J. P. U. Fynbo, Bo Milvang-Jensen, James S. Dunlop, Fernando Buitrago

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Using the UltraVISTA catalogs, we investigate the evolution in the 11.4 Gyr since z = 3 of the progenitors of local ultra-massive galaxies (log (M-star/M-circle dot) approximate to 11.8; UMGs), providing a complete and consistent picture of how the most massive galaxies at z = 0 have assembled. By selecting the_progenitors with a semi-empirical approach using abundance matching, we infer a growth in stellar mass of 0.56(-0.25)(+0.35) dex, 0.45(-0.20)(+0.16) dex, and 0.27(-0.12)(+0.08) dex from z = 3, z = 2, and z = 1, respectively, to z = 0. At z <1, the progenitors of UMGs constitute a homogeneous population of only quiescent galaxies with old stellar populations. At z > 1, the contribution from star-forming galaxies progressively increases, with the progenitors at 2 <z <3 being dominated by massive (M-star approximate to 2 x 10(11) M-circle dot), dusty (A(v) similar to 1-2.2 mag), star-forming (SFR similar to 100-400 M-circle dot yr(-1)) galaxies with a large range in stellar ages. At z = 2.75, similar to 15% of the progenitors are quiescent, with properties typical of post-starburst galaxies with little dust extinction and strong Balmer break, and showing a large scatter in color. Our findings indicate that at least half of the stellar content of local UMGs was assembled at z > 1, whereas the remaining was assembled via merging from z similar to 1 to the present. Most of the quenching of the star-forming progenitors happened between z = 2.75 and z = 1.25, in good agreement with the typical formation redshift and scatter in age of z = 0 UMGs as derived from their fossil records. The progenitors of local UMGs, including the star-forming ones, never lived on the blue cloud since z = 3. We propose an alternative path for the formation of local UMGs that refines previously proposed pictures and that is fully consistent with our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume794
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • COLOR-MAGNITUDE RELATION
  • SIMILAR-TO 2
  • SPECTRAL ENERGY-DISTRIBUTIONS
  • BRIGHTEST CLUSTER GALAXIES
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • BAND LUMINOSITY FUNCTION
  • DARK-MATTER HALOES
  • DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
  • DEEP FIELD-SOUTH
  • 10 BILLION YEARS

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