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The role of quenching time in the evolution of the mass-size relation of passive galaxies from the WISP survey

Zanella, A. and Scarlata, C. and Corsini, E. M. and Bedregal, A. G. and Bontà, E. Dalla and Atek, H. and Bunker, A. J. and Colbert, J . and Dai, Y. S. and Henry, A. and Malkan, M. and Martin, C. and Rafelski, M. and Rutkowski, M. J. and Siana, B. and Teplitz, H. (2016) The role of quenching time in the evolution of the mass-size relation of passive galaxies from the WISP survey. Astrophysical Journal, 824 (2). Art. No. 68. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We analyze how passive galaxies at z ~ 1.5 populate the mass–size plane as a function of their stellar age, to understand if the observed size growth with time can be explained with the appearance of larger quenched galaxies at lower redshift. We use a sample of 32 passive galaxies extracted from the Wide Field Camera 3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallel (WISP) survey with spectroscopic redshift 1.3 ≾ z ≾ 2.05, specific star formation rates lower than 0.01 Gyr^(−1), and stellar masses above 4.5 × 10^(10) M_⊙. All galaxies have spectrally determined stellar ages from fitting of their rest-frame optical spectra and photometry with stellar population models. When dividing our sample into young (age ≤2.1 Gyr) and old (age >2.1 Gyr) galaxies we do not find a significant trend in the distributions of the difference between the observed radius and that predicted by the mass–size relation. This result indicates that the relation between the galaxy age and its distance from the mass–size relation, if it exists, is rather shallow, with a slope α ≳ −0.6. At face value, this finding suggests that multiple dry and/or wet minor mergers, rather than the appearance of newly quenched galaxies, are mainly responsible for the observed time evolution of the mass–size relation in passive galaxies.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Zanella, A.0000-0001-8600-7008
Scarlata, C.0000-0002-9136-8876
Atek, H.0000-0002-7570-0824
Dai, Y. S.0000-0002-7928-416X
Henry, A.0000-0002-6586-4446
Malkan, M.0000-0001-6919-1237
Martin, C.0000-0002-8650-1644
Rafelski, M.0000-0002-9946-4731
Siana, B.0000-0002-4935-9511
Teplitz, H.0000-0002-7064-5424
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 April 28; accepted 2016 March 31; published 2016 June 14. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. We thank the referee for constructive comments that improved the analysis of the results. We thank Francesco Valentino, Emeric Le Floc’h, and Emanuele Daddi for useful discussions. E.M.C. and E.D.B. are supported by Padua University through grants 60A02-5857/13, 60A02-5833/14, 60A02-4434/15, and CPDA133894.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Padua University60A02-5857/13
Padua University60A02-5833/14
Padua University60A02-4434/15
Padua UniversityCPDA133894
Subject Keywords:evolution – galaxies: fundamental parameters – galaxies: high-redshift – galaxies: structure
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160916-085316363
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A. Zanella et al 2016 ApJ 824 68
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:70385
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Sep 2016 19:39
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 22:52

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