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Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA): Accurate number densities and environments of massive ultracompact galaxies at 0.02 < z < 0.3

Buitrago, F, Ferreras, I, Kelvin, LS, Baldry, IK, Davies, L, Angthopo, J, Khochfar, S, Hopkins, AM, Driver, SP, Brough, S, Sabater, J, Conselice, CJ, Liske, J, Holwerda, BW, Bremer, MN, Phillipps, S, Lopez-Sanchez, AR, Graham, AW and Norberg, P (2018) Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA): Accurate number densities and environments of massive ultracompact galaxies at 0.02 < z < 0.3. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 619. ISSN 0004-6361

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Open Access URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201833785 (Published version)


Massive Ultracompact Galaxies (MUGs) are common at z=2-3, but very rare in the nearby Universe. Simulations predict that the few surviving MUGs should reside in galaxy clusters, whose large relative velocities prevent them from merging, thus maintaining their original properties (namely stellar populations, masses, sizes and dynamical state). We take advantage of the high-completeness, large-area spectroscopic GAMA survey, complementing it with deeper imaging from the KiDS and VIKING surveys. We find a set of 22 bona-fide MUGs, defined as having high stellar mass (>8x10^10 M_Sun) and compact size (R_e<2 Kpc) at 0.02 < z < 0.3. An additional set of 7 lower-mass objects (6x10^10 < M_star/M_Sun < 8x10^10) are also potential candidates according to typical mass uncertainties. The comoving number density of MUGs at low redshift (z < 0.3) is constrained at $(1.2\pm 0.4)x 10^-6 Mpc^-3, consistent with galaxy evolution models. However, we find a mixed distribution of old and young galaxies, with a quarter of the sample representing (old) relics. MUGs have a predominantly early/swollen disk morphology (Sersic index 1<n<2.5) with high stellar surface densities (<Sigma_e> ~ 10^10 M_Sun Kpc^-2). Interestingly, a large fraction feature close companions -- at least in projection -- suggesting that many (but not all) live in the central regions of groups. Halo masses show these galaxies inhabit average-mass groups. As MUGs are found to be almost equally distributed among environments of different masses, their relative fraction is higher in more massive overdensities, matching the expectations that some of these galaxies fell in these regions at early times. However, there must be another channel leading some of these galaxies to an abnormally low merger history because our sample shows a number of objects that do not inhabit particularly dense environments. (abridged)

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: EDP Sciences
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Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 09:34
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 10:08
DOI or Identification number: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833785
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8941

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