Several studies have suggested that the observed size evolution of massive early-type galaxies (ETGs) can be explained as a combination of dry mergers and progenitor bias, at least since z ~ 1. In this paper we carry out a new test of the dry-merger scenario based on recent lensing measurements of the evolution of the mass density profile of ETGs. We construct a theoretical model for the joint evolution of the size and mass density profile slope gamma' driven by dry mergers occurring at rates given by cosmological simulations. Such dry-merger model predicts a strong decrease of gamma' with cosmic time, inconsistent with the almost constant gamma' inferred from observations in the redshift range 0 < z < 1. We then show with a simple toy model that a modest amount of cold gas in the mergers---consistent with the upper limits on recent star formation in ETGs---is sufficient to reconcile the model with measurements of gamma'. By fitting for the amount of gas accreted during mergers, we find that models with dissipation are consistent with observations of the evolution in both size and density slope, if ~4% of the total final stellar mass arises from the gas accreted since z ~ 1. Purely dry merger models are ruled out at >99% CL. We thus suggest a scenario where the outer regions of massive ETGs grow by accretion of stars and dark matter, while small amounts of dissipation and nuclear star formation conspire to keep the mass density profile constant and approximately isothermal.

Alessandro Sonnenfeld, Carlo Nipoti, Tommaso Treu (2014). Purely dry mergers do not explain the observed evolution of massive early-type galaxies since z ∼ 1. THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 786, 1-8 [10.1088/0004-637X/786/2/89].

Purely dry mergers do not explain the observed evolution of massive early-type galaxies since z ∼ 1

NIPOTI, CARLO;
2014

Abstract

Several studies have suggested that the observed size evolution of massive early-type galaxies (ETGs) can be explained as a combination of dry mergers and progenitor bias, at least since z ~ 1. In this paper we carry out a new test of the dry-merger scenario based on recent lensing measurements of the evolution of the mass density profile of ETGs. We construct a theoretical model for the joint evolution of the size and mass density profile slope gamma' driven by dry mergers occurring at rates given by cosmological simulations. Such dry-merger model predicts a strong decrease of gamma' with cosmic time, inconsistent with the almost constant gamma' inferred from observations in the redshift range 0 < z < 1. We then show with a simple toy model that a modest amount of cold gas in the mergers---consistent with the upper limits on recent star formation in ETGs---is sufficient to reconcile the model with measurements of gamma'. By fitting for the amount of gas accreted during mergers, we find that models with dissipation are consistent with observations of the evolution in both size and density slope, if ~4% of the total final stellar mass arises from the gas accreted since z ~ 1. Purely dry merger models are ruled out at >99% CL. We thus suggest a scenario where the outer regions of massive ETGs grow by accretion of stars and dark matter, while small amounts of dissipation and nuclear star formation conspire to keep the mass density profile constant and approximately isothermal.
2014
Alessandro Sonnenfeld, Carlo Nipoti, Tommaso Treu (2014). Purely dry mergers do not explain the observed evolution of massive early-type galaxies since z ∼ 1. THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 786, 1-8 [10.1088/0004-637X/786/2/89].
Alessandro Sonnenfeld; Carlo Nipoti; Tommaso Treu
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/367124
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