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Title: Star formation and the evolution of massive galaxies across cosmic time
Author: Ownsworth, Jamie Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 0440
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the evolution of massive galaxies throughout the last 11 billion years using measured stellar masses and star formation rates. Firstly, we present a study of the resolved star-forming properties of a sample of distant massive (M > 10{11}) galaxies in the GOODS NICMOS Survey (GNS) within the redshift range 1.5 < z < 3 in order to measure the spatial location of ongoing star formation (SF). We find that the SFRs present in different regions of a galaxy reflect the already existent stellar mass density, i.e. high density regions have higher SFRs than lower density regions, on average. We find that these massive galaxies fall into three broad classifications of SF distributions. These different SF distributions increase the effective radii to z=0, by ~16 plus-minus 5 % , with little change in the Sersic index (n), with an average delta n = -0.9 plus-minus 0.9, after evolution. These results are not in agreement with the observed change in the effective radius and n between z ~2.5 and z ~0. We conclude that SF and stellar migration alone cannot account for the observed change in structural parameters for this galaxy population, implying that other mechanisms must additionally be at work to produce the evolution, such as merging. In Chapter 2, we present a study of the stellar mass growth of the progenitors of local massive galaxies at number densities of n < or = 1x10{-4} Mpc{-3} in the redshift range 0.31.5 SF is the dominant form of stellar mass growth, while at z<1.5 mergers become the dominant form with minor mergers the dominant form of growth at z<1.0. We also explore the implication of these results on other galaxy formation processes such as the cold gas accretion rate of the progenitors of most massive galaxies over the same redshift range. We find that the gas accretion rate decreases with redshift with an average gas accretion rate of ~65 M yr{-1} over the redshift range of 1.51.7 and transitioning to high n objects at z<1.7. Splitting the high and low $n$ objects into SFing and passive samples. We find that 41 plus-minus 4 % of the sample at z>2.5 are passive low n systems, possibly implying that local massive galaxies were passive disk-like systems at early cosmic times.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QB Astronomy