On the shapes and structures of high-redshift compact galaxies

Melanie Chevance*, Anne-Marie Weijmans, Ivana Damjanov, Roberto G. Abraham, Luc Simard, Sidney van den Bergh, Evelyn Caris, Karl Glazebrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent deep Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 imaging suggests that amajority of compact quiescent massive galaxies at z similar to 2 may contain disks. To investigate this claim, we have compared the ellipticity distribution of 31 carefully selected high-redshift massive quiescent compact galaxies to a set of mass-selected ellipticity and Sersic index distributions obtained from two-dimensional structural fits to similar to 40,000 nearby galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test shows that the distribution of ellipticities for the high-redshift galaxies is consistent with the ellipticity distribution of a similarly chosen sample of massive early-type galaxies. However, the distribution of Sersic indices for the high-redshift sample is inconsistent with that of local early-type galaxies, and instead resembles that of local disk-dominated populations. The mismatch between the properties of high-redshift compact galaxies and those of both local early-type and disk-dominated systems leads us to conclude that the basic structures of high-redshift compact galaxies probably do not closely resemble those of any single local galaxy population. Any galaxy population analog to the high-redshift compact galaxies that exists at the current epoch is either a mix of different types of galaxies, or possibly a unique class of objects on their own.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL24
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume754
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: statistics
  • galaxies: structure
  • SIMILAR-TO 2
  • SUPERDENSE MASSIVE GALAXIES
  • HUBBLE-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • INSIDE-OUT GROWTH
  • ULTRA-DEEP-FIELD
  • SIZE EVOLUTION
  • QUIESCENT GALAXIES
  • ELLIPTIC GALAXIES
  • STAR-FORMATION
  • PASSIVE GALAXIES

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