The VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS). Environment-size relation of massive passive galaxies at 0.5 ≤ z ≤ 0.8

A. Gargiulo, O. Cucciati, B. Garilli, M. Scodeggio, M. Bolzonella, G. Zamorani, G. De Lucia, J. Krywult, L. Guzzo, B. R. Granett, S. de la Torre, U. Abbas, C. Adami, S. Arnouts, D. Bottini, A. Cappi, P. Franzetti, A. Fritz, C. Haines, A. J. HawkenA. Iovino, V. Le Brun, O. Le Fèvre, D. Maccagni, K. Małek, F. Marulli, T. Moutard, M. Polletta, A. Pollo, L. A. M. Tasca, R. Tojeiro, D. Vergani, A. Zanichelli, J. Bel, E. Branchini, J. Coupon, O. Ilbert, L. Moscardini, J. A. Peacock

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We use the unparalleled statistics of the VIPERS survey to investigatethe relation between the surface mean stellar mass density Σ =ℳ/(2 πRe2) of massive passive galaxies (MPGs, ℳ ≥ 1011 M⊙) and their local environment in the redshift range 0.5 ≤ z ≤ 0.8. Passive galaxies were selected on the basis of their NUVrK colors (˜900 objects), and the environment was defined as the galaxy density contrast, δ, using the fifth nearest-neighbor approach. The analysis of Σ versus δ was carried out in two stellar mass bins. In galaxies with ℳ ≤ 2 × 1011 M⊙, no correlation between Σ and δ is observed. This implies that the accretion of satellite galaxies, which is more frequent in denser environments (groups or cluster outskirts) and efficient in reducing the galaxy Σ, is not relevant in the formation and evolution of these systems. Conversely, in galaxies with ℳ > 2 × 1011 M⊙, we find an excess of MPGs with low Σ and a deficit of high-Σ MPGs in the densest regions with respect to other environments. We interpret this result as due to the migration of some high-Σ MPGs (<1% of the total population of MPGs) into low-Σ MPGs, probably through mergers or cannibalism of small satellites. In summary, our results imply that the accretion of satellite galaxies has a marginal role in the mass-assembly history of most MPGs. We have previously found that the number density of VIPERS massive star-forming galaxies (MSFGs) declines rapidily from z = 0.8 to z = 0.5, which mirrors the rapid increase in the number density of MPGs. This indicates that the MSFGs at z ≥ 0.8 migrate to the MPG population. Here, we investigate the Σ-δ relation of MSFGsat z ≥ 0.8 and find that it is consistent within 1σ with that of low-Σ MPGs at z ≤ 0.8. Thus, the results of this and our previous paper show that MSFGs at z ≥ 0.8 are consistent in terms of number and environment with being the progenitors of low-Σ MPGs at z <0.8.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Cerro Paranal, Chile, using the Very Large Telescope under programs 182.A-0886 and partly 070.A-9007. Also based on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences del'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. This work is based in part on data products produced at TERAPIX and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey, a collaborative project of NRC and CNRS. The VIPERS web site is
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA15
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date11 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation


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