ZFOURGE/CANDELS: On the Evolution of M* Galaxy Progenitors from z = 3 to 0.5

C. Papovich, I. Labbé, R. Quadri, V. Tilvi, P. Behroozi, E. F. Bell, K. Glazebrook, L. Spitler, C. M. S. Straatman, K.-V. Tran, M. Cowley, R. Davé, A. Dekel, M. Dickinson, H. C. Ferguson, S. L. Finkelstein, E. Gawiser, H. Inami, S. M. Faber, G. G. KacprzakL. Kawinwanichakij, D. Kocevski, A. Koekemoer, D. C. Koo, P. Kurczynski, J. M. Lotz, Y. Lu, R. A. Lucas, D. McIntosh, N. Mehrtens, B. Mobasher, A. Monson, G. Morrison, T. Nanayakkara, S. E. Persson, B. Salmon, R. Simons, A. Tomczak, P. van Dokkum, B. Weiner, S. P. Willner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Galaxies with stellar masses near M* contain the majority of stellar mass in the universe, and are therefore of special interest in the study of galaxy evolution. The Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) have present-day stellar masses near M*, at 5 × 1010 M ⊙ (defined here to be MW-mass) and 1011 M ⊙ (defined to be M31-mass). We study the typical progenitors of these galaxies using the FOURSTAR Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE). ZFOURGE is a deep medium-band near-IR imaging survey, which is sensitive to the progenitors of these galaxies out to z ~ 3. We use abundance-matching techniques to identify the main progenitors of these galaxies at higher redshifts. We measure the evolution in the stellar mass, rest-frame colors, morphologies, far-IR luminosities, and star formation rates, combining our deep multiwavelength imaging with near-IR Hubble Space Telescope imaging from Cosmic Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS), and Spitzer and Herschel far-IR imaging from Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey-Herschel and CANDELS-Herschel. The typical MW-mass and M31-mass progenitors passed through the same evolution stages, evolving from blue, star-forming disk galaxies at the earliest stages to redder dust-obscured IR-luminous galaxies in intermediate stages and to red, more quiescent galaxies at their latest stages. The progenitors of the MW-mass galaxies reached each evolutionary stage at later times (lower redshifts) and with stellar masses that are a factor of two to three lower than the progenitors of the M31-mass galaxies. The process driving this evolution, including the suppression of star formation in present-day M* galaxies, requires an evolving stellar-mass/halo-mass ratio and/or evolving halo-mass threshold for quiescent galaxies. The effective size and SFRs imply that the baryonic cold-gas fractions drop as galaxies evolve from high redshift to z ~ 0 and are strongly anticorrelated with an increase in the Sérsic index. Therefore, the growth of galaxy bulges in M* galaxies corresponds to a rapid decline in the galaxy gas fractions and/or a decrease in the star formation efficiency. This paper contains data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2015


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: structure


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