The Structures and Total (Minor + Major) Merger Histories of Massive Galaxies Up To Z∼ 3 in the Hst Goods Nicmos Survey: A Possible Solution to the Size Evolution Problem
Bluck, Asa F.L.
Conselice, Christopher J.
Bauer, Amanda E.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
We investigate the total major (>1:4 by stellar mass) and minor (>1:100 by stellar mass) merger history of a population of 80 massive (M * > 1011 M ⊙) galaxies at high redshifts (z = 1.7-3). We utilize extremely deep and high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope H-band imaging from the GOODS NICMOS Survey, which corresponds to rest-frame optical wavelengths at the redshifts probed. We find that massive galaxies at high redshifts are often morphologically disturbed, with a CAS (concentration, C; asymmetry, A; clumpiness, S) deduced merger fraction fm = 0.23 ± 0.05 at z = 1.7-3. We find close accord between close pair methods (within 30 kpc apertures) and CAS methods for deducing major merger fractions at all redshifts. We deduce the total (minor + major) merger history of massive galaxies with M * > 109 M ⊙ galaxies, and find that this scales roughly linearly with log-stellar-mass and magnitude range. We test our close pair methods by utilizing mock galaxy catalogs from the Millennium Simulation. We compute the total number of mergers to be (4.5 ± 2.9)/langτ m rang from z = 3 to the present, to a stellar mass sensitivity threshold of ~1:100 (where τ m is the merger timescale in Gyr which varies as a function of mass). This corresponds to an average mass increase of (3.4 ± 2.2) × 1011 M ⊙ over the past 11.5 Gyr due to merging. We show that the size evolution observed for these galaxies may be mostly explained by this merging. Show more
Journal / seriesThe Astrophysical Journal
Pages / Article No.
PublisherIOP Institute of Physics Publishing
SubjectAstrophysics; ASTRONOMY + ASTROPHYSICS
Organisational unit02010 - Dep. Physik / Dep. of Physics
03612 - Carollo, Marcella / Carollo, Marcella
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