Constraining the assembly of normal and compact passively evolving galaxies from redshift z = 3 to the present with candels

P. Cassata, M. Giavalisco, C. C. Williams, Yicheng Guo, Bomee Lee, A. Renzini, H. Ferguson, S. F. Faber, G. Barro, D. H. McIntosh, Yu Lu, E. F. Bell, D. C. Koo, C. J. Papovich, R. E. Ryan, C. J. Conselice, N. Grogin, A. Koekemoer, N. P. Hathi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


We study the evolution of the number density, as a function of the size, of passive early-type galaxies (ETGs) with a wide range of stellar masses (10 10 M< M * ≲ 10 11.5 M ) from z ∼ 3 to z ∼ 1, exploiting the unique data set available in the GOODS-South field, including the recently obtained WFC3 images as part of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey. In particular, we select a sample of ∼107 massive (M * > 1010 M), passive (SSFR < 10-2 Gyr-1), and morphologically spheroidal galaxies at 1.2 < z < 3, taking advantage of the panchromatic data set available for GOODS, including VLT, CFHT, Spitzer, Chandra, and HST ACS+WFC3 data. We find that at 1 < z < 3 the passively evolving ETGs are the reddest and most massive objects in the universe, and we prove that a correlation between mass, morphology, color, and star formation activity is already in place at that epoch. We measure a significant evolution in the mass-size relation of passive ETGs from z ∼ 3 to z ∼ 1, with galaxies growing on average by a factor of two in size in a 3 Gyr timescale only. We also witness an increase in the number density of passive ETGs of 50 times over the same time interval. We find that the first ETGs to form at z ≳ 2 are all compact or ultra-compact, while normal-sized ETGs (meaning ETGs with sizes comparable to those of local counterparts of the same mass) are the most common ETGs only at z < 1. The increase of the average size of ETGs at 0 < z < 1 is primarily driven by the appearance of new large ETGs rather than by the size increase of individual galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Constraining the assembly of normal and compact passively evolving galaxies from redshift z = 3 to the present with candels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this