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Title: Submillimeter galaxies as progenitors of compact quiescent galaxies

Three billion years after the big bang (at redshift z = 2), half of the most massive galaxies were already old, quiescent systems with little to no residual star formation and extremely compact with stellar mass densities at least an order of magnitude larger than in low-redshift ellipticals, their descendants. Little is known about how they formed, but their evolved, dense stellar populations suggest formation within intense, compact starbursts 1-2 Gyr earlier (at 3 < z < 6). Simulations show that gas-rich major mergers can give rise to such starbursts, which produce dense remnants. Submillimeter-selected galaxies (SMGs) are prime examples of intense, gas-rich starbursts. With a new, representative spectroscopic sample of compact, quiescent galaxies at z = 2 and a statistically well-understood sample of SMGs, we show that z = 3-6 SMGs are consistent with being the progenitors of z = 2 quiescent galaxies, matching their formation redshifts and their distributions of sizes, stellar masses, and internal velocities. Assuming an evolutionary connection, their space densities also match if the mean duty cycle of SMG starbursts is 42{sub −29}{sup +40} Myr (consistent with independent estimates), which indicates that the bulk of stars in these massive galaxies were formed in a major,more » early surge of star formation. These results suggest a coherent picture of the formation history of the most massive galaxies in the universe, from their initial burst of violent star formation through their appearance as high stellar-density galaxy cores and to their ultimate fate as giant ellipticals.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ; ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ; ; ; ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11]
  1. Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Mariesvej 30, DK-2100 Copenhagen (Denmark)
  2. Physics Department, University of Zagreb, Bijenička cesta 32, 10002 Zagreb (Croatia)
  3. Argelander Institute for Astronomy, Auf dem Hügel 71, Bonn, D-53121 (Germany)
  4. Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ (United Kingdom)
  5. Spitzer Science Center, 314-6 Caltech, 1201 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  6. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (United States)
  7. ETH Zurich, Institute for Astronomy, Department of Physics, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, CH-8093 Zurich (Switzerland)
  8. MPE, Postfach 1312, D-85741 Garching (Germany)
  9. Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)
  10. Institut dAstrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, 98 bis Boulevard Arago, F-75014 Paris (France)
  11. Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, 220 Space Sciences Building, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351437
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 782; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPACTS; COSMOLOGY; DENSITY; DISTRIBUTION; EVOLUTION; GALACTIC EVOLUTION; GALAXIES; MASS; RED SHIFT; SIMULATION; SPACE; STARS; UNIVERSE