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Understanding the size growth of massive galaxies through stellar populations

  • I. Ferreras (a1), I. Trujillo (a2), E. Mármol-Queraltó (a3), P. Pérez-González (a4) and the SHARDS team...

Abstract

Massive early-type galaxies undergo a significant process of evolution with redshift on the stellar mass vs size plane. Furthermore, this trend does not depend on the age of their stellar populations. Therefore, such an evolution should involve processes that do not include a significant amount of star formation, leaving (mostly) dry mergers as the main growth channel. By studying close pairs involving a massive galaxy, one can quantify the role of mergers on the growth of massive galaxies. A recent study based on the SHARDS dataset reveals that minor mergers cannot be the dominant mechanism to explain the bulk of size growth in these systems. Merging is found to provide a constant fractional growth rate of ~10% per Gyr from redshift z=1, corresponding to an overall stellar mass increase of 2× between z=1 and z=0.

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