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          Institute: MPI für Astronomie     Collection: Publikationen_mpia     Display Documents

ID: 606638.0, MPI für Astronomie / Publikationen_mpia
The majority of compact massive galaxies at z ~ 2 are disk dominated
Authors:van der Wel, A.; Rix, H.-W.; Wuyts, S.; McGrath, E. J.; Koekemoer, A. M.; Bell, E. F.; Holden, B. P.; Robaina, A. R.; McIntosh, D. H.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2011
Journal Abbrev.:The Astrophysical Journal
Issue / Number:1
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:We investigate the stellar structure of massive, quiescent galaxies at z ~ 2, based on Hubble Space Telescope/WFC3 imaging from the Early Release Science program. Our sample of 14 galaxies has stellar masses of M * > 1010.8 M sun and photometric redshifts of 1.5 < z < 2.5. In agreement with previous work, their half-light radii are <2 kpc, much smaller than equally massive galaxies in the present-day universe. A significant subset of the sample appears highly flattened in projection, which implies, considering viewing angle statistics, that a significant fraction of the galaxies in our sample have pronounced disks. This is corroborated by two-dimensional surface brightness profile fits. We estimate that 65% ± 15% of the population of massive, quiescent z ~ 2 galaxies are disk dominated. The median disk scale length is 1.5 kpc, substantially smaller than the disks of equally massive galaxies in the present-day universe. Our results provide strong observational evidence that the much-discussed ultra-dense high-redshift galaxies should generally be thought of as disk-like stellar systems with the majority of stars formed from gas that had time to settle into a disk.
Free Keywords:cosmology: observations; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:N. N.
Affiliations:MPI für Astronomie
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