Candels: The correlation between galaxy morphology and star formation activity at z ∼ 2

Bomee Lee, Mauro Giavalisco, Christina C. Williams, Yicheng Guo, Jennifer Lotz, Arjen Van Der Wel, Henry C. Ferguson, S. M. Faber, Anton Koekemoer, Norman Grogin, Dale Kocevski, Christopher J. Conselice, Stijn Wuyts, Avishai Dekel, Jeyhan Kartaltepe, Eric F. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We discuss the state of the assembly of the Hubble sequence in the mix of bright galaxies at redshift 1.4 < z ≤ 2.5 with a large sample of 1671 galaxies down to H AB ∼ 26, selected from the HST/ACS and WFC3 images of the GOODS-South field obtained as part of the GOODS and CANDELS observations. We investigate the relationship between the star formation properties and morphology using various parametric diagnostics, such as the Sérsic light profile, Gini (G), M 20, concentration (C), asymmetry (A), and multiplicity (Ψ) parameters. Our sample clearly separates into massive, red, and passive galaxies versus less massive, blue, and star-forming ones, and this dichotomy correlates very well with the galaxies' morphological properties. Star-forming galaxies show a broad variety of morphological features, including clumpy structures and bulges mixed with faint low surface brightness features, generally characterized by disky-type light profiles. Passively evolving galaxies, on the other hand, very often have compact light distribution and morphology typical of today's spheroidal systems. We also find that artificially redshifted local galaxies have a similar distribution with z ∼ 2 galaxies in a G-M 20 plane. Visual inspection between the rest-frame optical and UV images show that there is a generally weak morphological k-correction for galaxies at z ∼ 2, but the comparison with non-parametric measures show that galaxies in the rest-frame UV are somewhat clumpier than rest-frame optical. Similar general trends are observed in the local universe among massive galaxies, suggesting that the backbone of the Hubble sequence was already in place at z ∼ 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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