What drives the star formation in early-type galaxies at late epochs? - The case for minor mergers

Sugata Kaviraj, Richard Ellis, Sukyoung Yi, Joseph Silk, Kevin Schawinski, Eric Gawiser, Pieter Van Dokkum, C. Megan Urry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multi-wavelength photometry of early-type galaxies (ETGs) in the COSMOS survey is used to demonstrate that the low-level star formation activity in the ETG population at late epochs (z < 1) is likely to be driven by repeated minor mergers. While relaxed ETGs are almost entirely contained within the UV red sequence, their morphologically disturbed counterparts are largely found in the blue cloud, regardless of luminosity. Since empirically determined major-merger rates in the redshift range z < 1 are a few factors too low to account for the number fraction of disturbed ETGs, this suggests that minor mergers are the principal mechanism that drives star formation activity in ETGs at low and intermediate redshift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-171
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Volume5
Issue numberS262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science

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