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          Institute: MPI für Astronomie     Collection: Publikationen_mpia     Display Documents

ID: 559499.0, MPI für Astronomie / Publikationen_mpia
On the dearth of compact, massive, red sequence galaxies in the local Universe
Authors:Taylor, E. N.; Franx, M.; Glazebrook, K.; Brinchmann, J.; van der Wel, A.; van Dokkum, P. G.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2010
Journal Abbrev.:The Astrophysical Journal
Issue / Number:1
Start Page:723
End Page:741
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:We set out to test the claim that the recently identified population of compact, massive, and quiescent galaxies at z ~ 2.3 must undergo significant size evolution to match the properties of galaxies found in the local universe. Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS; Data Release 7), we have conducted a search for local red sequence galaxies with sizes and masses comparable to those found at z ~ 2.3. The SDSS spectroscopic target selection algorithm excludes high surface brightness objects; we show that this makes incompleteness a concern for such massive, compact galaxies, particularly for low redshifts (z <~ 0.05). We have identified 63 M *>1010.7 M sun (≈5 × 1010 M sun) red sequence galaxies at 0.066 < z spec < 0.12 which are smaller than the median size-mass relation by a factor of 2 or more. Consistent with expectations from the virial theorem, the median offset from the mass-velocity dispersion relation for these galaxies is 0.12 dex. We do not, however, find any galaxies with sizes and masses comparable to those observed at z ~ 2.3, implying a decrease in the comoving number density of these galaxies, at fixed size and mass, by a factor of gsim5000. This result cannot be explained by incompleteness: in the 0.066 < z < 0.12 interval, we estimate that the SDSS spectroscopic sample should typically be gsim75% complete for galaxies with the sizes and masses seen at high redshift, although for the very smallest galaxies it may be as low as ~20%. In order to confirm that the absence of such compact massive galaxies in SDSS is not produced by spectroscopic selection effects, we have also looked for such galaxies in the basic SDSS photometric catalog, using photometric redshifts. While we do find signs of a slight bias against massive, compact galaxies, this analysis suggests that the SDSS spectroscopic sample is missing at most a few objects in the regime we consider. Accepting the high-redshift results, it is clear that massive galaxies must undergo significant structural evolution over z <~ 2 in order to match the population seen in the local universe. Our results suggest that a highly stochastic mechanism (e.g., major mergers) cannot be the primary driver of this strong size evolution.
Free Keywords:galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; galaxies: fundamental parameters
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:N. N.
Affiliations:MPI für Astronomie
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