The Mass, Color, and Structural Evolution of Today’s Massive Galaxies Since z ∼ 5

Hill, A. R., Muzzin, A., Franx, M., Clauwens, B., Schreiber, C., Marchesini, D., Stefanon, M., Labbe, I., Brammer, G., Caputi, K., Fynbo, J., Milvang-Jensen, B., Skelton, R. E., van Dokkum, P. & Whitaker, K. E., Mar-2017, In : The Astrophysical Journal. 837, 2, p. 147

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Allison R. Hill
  • Adam Muzzin
  • Marijn Franx
  • Bart Clauwens
  • Corentin Schreiber
  • Danilo Marchesini
  • Mauro Stefanon
  • Ivo Labbe
  • Gabriel Brammer
  • Karina Caputi
  • Johan Fynbo
  • Bo Milvang-Jensen
  • Rosalind E. Skelton
  • Pieter van Dokkum
  • Katherine E. Whitaker
In this paper, we use stacking analysis to trace the mass growth, color evolution, and structural evolution of present-day massive galaxies ({log}({M}* /{M}ȯ )=11.5) out to z = 5. We utilize the exceptional depth and area of the latest UltraVISTA data release, combined with the depth and unparalleled seeing of CANDELS to gather a large, mass-selected sample of galaxies in the NIR (rest-frame optical to UV). Progenitors of present-day massive galaxies are identified via an evolving cumulative number density selection, which accounts for the effects of merging to correct for the systematic biases introduced using a fixed cumulative number density selection, and find progenitors grow in stellar mass by ≈ 1.5 {dex} since z = 5. Using stacking, we analyze the structural parameters of the progenitors and find that most of the stellar mass content in the central regions was in place by z∼ 2, and while galaxies continue to assemble mass at all radii, the outskirts experience the largest fractional increase in stellar mass. However, we find evidence of significant stellar mass build-up at r<3 {kpc} beyond z> 4 probing an era of significant mass assembly in the interiors of present-day massive galaxies. We also compare mass assembly from progenitors in this study to the EAGLE simulation and find qualitatively similar assembly with z at r<3 {kpc}. We identify z∼ 1.5 as a distinct epoch in the evolution of massive galaxies where progenitors transitioned from growing in mass and size primarily through in situ star formation in disks to a period of efficient growth in r e consistent with the minor merger scenario.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2017


  • galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: structure

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