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The cosmic assembly of stellar haloes in massive early-type Galaxies

F. Buitrago, I. Trujillo, E. Curtis-Lake, M. Montes, A. P. Cooper, V. A. Bruce, P. Pérez-González, M. Cirasuolo

Using the exquisite depth of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF12 programme) dataset, we explore the ongoing assembly of the outermost regions of the most massive galaxies (Mstellar ≥ 5×1010 M) at z≤1. The outskirts of massive objects, particularly Early-Types Galaxies (ETGs), are expected to suffer a dramatic transformation across cosmic time due to continuous accretion of small galaxies. HUDF imaging allows us to study this process at intermediate redshifts in 6 massive galaxies, exploring the individual surface brightness profiles out to ~25 effective radii. We find that 5-20% of the total stellar mass for the galaxies in our sample is contained within 10 < R < 50 kpc. These values are in close agreement with numerical simulations, and higher than those reported for local late-type galaxies (≲5%). The fraction of stellar mass stored in the outer envelopes/haloes of Massive Early-Type Galaxies increases with decreasing redshift, being 28.7% at <z>=0.1, 15.1% at <z>=0.65 and 3.5% at <z>=2. The fraction of mass in diffuse features linked with ongoing minor merger events is > 1-2%, very similar to predictions based on observed close pair counts. Therefore, the results for our small albeit meaningful sample suggest that the size and mass growth of the most massive galaxies have been solely driven by minor and major merging from z=1 to today.

galaxies: evolution, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: morphology, galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD, galaxies: haloes, galaxies: structure

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 466, Issue 4, Page 16
2017 May

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia