The VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS). The distinct build-up of dense and normal massive passive galaxies

Abstract : We use the final data from the VIPERS redshift survey to extract an unparalleled sample of more than 2000 massive M > 10^11 M_sun passive galaxies (MPGs) at redshift 0.5 < z < 1.0, based on their NUVrK colours. This enables us to investigate how the population of these objects was built up over cosmic time. We find that the evolution of the number density depends on the galaxy mean surface stellar mass density, Sigma. In particular, dense (Sigma > 2000 M_sun pc^-2) MPGs show a constant comoving number density over this redshift range, whilst this increases by a factor ~ 4 for the least dense objects, defined as having Sigma < 1000 M_sun pc^-2. We estimate stellar ages for the MPG population both fitting the Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) and through the D4000_n index, obtaining results in good agreement. Our findings are consistent with passive ageing of the stellar content of dense MPGs. We show that at any redshift the less dense MPGs are younger than dense ones and that their stellar populations evolve at a slower rate than predicted by passive evolution. This points to a scenario in which the overall population of MPGs was built up over the cosmic time by continuous addition of less dense galaxies: on top of an initial population of dense objects that passively evolves, new, larger, and younger MPGs continuously join the population at later epochs. Finally, we demonstrate that the observed increase in the number density of MPGs is totally accounted for by the observed decrease in the number density of correspondingly massive star forming galaxies (i.e. all the non-passive M > 10^11 M_sun objects). Such systems observed at z ~ 1 in VIPERS, therefore, represent the most plausible progenitors of the subsequent emerging class of larger MPGs.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 606, pp.A113. 〈10.1051/0004-6361/201630112〉
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A. Gargiulo, M. Bolzonella, M. Scodeggio, J. Krywult, G. De Lucia, et al.. The VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS). The distinct build-up of dense and normal massive passive galaxies. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 606, pp.A113. 〈10.1051/0004-6361/201630112〉. 〈hal-01662060〉

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