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Massive post-starburst galaxies at z > 1 are compact proto-spheroids

Almaini, Omar; Wild, Vivienne; Maltby, David T.; Hartley, William G.; Simpson, Chris; Hatch, Nina A.; McLure, Ross J.; Dunlop, James S.; Rowlands, Kate

Authors

Omar Almaini

Vivienne Wild

David T. Maltby

William G. Hartley

Chris Simpson

Nina A. Hatch

Ross J. McLure

James S. Dunlop

Kate Rowlands



Abstract

We investigate the relationship between the quenching of star formation and the structural transformation of massive galaxies, using a large sample of photometrically-selected poststarburst galaxies in the UKIDSS UDS field. We find that post-starburst galaxies at highredshift (z > 1) show high Sérsic indices, significantly higher than those of active star-forming galaxies, but with a distribution that is indistinguishable from the old quiescent population. We conclude that the morphological transformation occurs before (or during) the quenching of star formation. Recently quenched galaxies are also the most compact; we find evidence that massive post-starburst galaxies (M_ > 1010:5 M_) at high redshift (z > 1) are on average smaller than comparable quiescent galaxies at the same epoch. Our findings are consistent with a scenario in which massive passive galaxies are formed from three distinct phases: (1) gas-rich dissipative collapse to very high densities, forming the proto-spheroid; (2) rapid quenching of star formation, to create the “red nugget” with post-starburst features; (3) a gradual growth in size as the population ages, perhaps as a result of minor mergers.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2017-12
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 472
Issue 2
Pages 1401-1412
APA6 Citation Almaini, O., Wild, V., Maltby, D. T., Hartley, W. G., Simpson, C., Hatch, N. A., …Rowlands, K. (2017). Massive post-starburst galaxies at z > 1 are compact proto-spheroids. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 472(2), 1401-1412. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx1957
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx1957
Keywords galaxies: evolution – galaxies: formation – galaxies: fundamental parameters – galaxies: structure – galaxies: high-redshift
Publisher URL https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/472/2/1401/4064374/Massive-poststarburst-galaxies-at-zgt1-are-compact
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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