A universal structural and star-forming relation since $z\sim3$: connecting compact star-forming and quiescent galaxies [GA]


We study the evolution of the core (r<1 kpc) and effective (r<r_e) stellar-mass surface densities, in star-forming and quiescent galaxies. Since z=3, both populations occupy distinct, linear relations in log(Sigma_e) and log(Sigma_1) vs. log(M). These structural relations exhibit slopes and scatter that remain almost constant with time while their normalizations decline. For SFGs, the normalization declines by less than a factor of 2 from z=3, in both Sigma_e and Sigma_1. Such mild declines suggest that SFGs build dense cores by growing along these relations. We define this evolution as the structural main sequence (Sigma-MS). Quiescent galaxies follow different relations (Sigma^Q_e, Sigma^Q_1) off the Sigma-MS by having higher densities than SFGs of the same mass and redshift. The normalization of Sigma^Q_e declines by a factor of 10 since z=3, but only a factor of 2 in Sigma^Q_1. Thus, the common denominator for quiescent galaxies at all redshifts is the presence of a dense stellar core, and the formation of such cores in SFGs is the main requirement for quenching. Expressed in 2D as deviations off the SFR-MS and off Sigma^Q_1 at each redshift, the distribution of massive galaxies forms a universal, L-shaped sequence that relates two fundamental physical processes: compaction and quenching. Compaction is a process of substantial core-growth in SFGs relative to that in the Sigma-MS. This process increases the core-to-total mass and Sersic index, thereby, making compact SFGs. Quenching occurs once compact SFGs reach a maximum central density above Sigma^Q_1 > 9.5 M_sun/kpc^2. This threshold provides the most effective selection criterion to identify the star-forming progenitors of quiescent galaxies at all redshifts.

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G. Barro, S. Faber, D. Koo, et. al.
Thu, 3 Sep 15

Comments: Submitted to ApJ. Figure 8 summarizes the universal star-forming/structural relation. Figure 6 illustrates the possible evolutionary paths of SFGs and quiescent galaxies in surface density vs. mass. The cartoon in Figure 12 shows the change in structural properties and visual appearances for galaxies in these evolutionary paths