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Testing the hierarchical assembly of massive galaxies using accurate merger rates out to z ∼ 1.5

Abstract : We established an accurate comparison between observationally and theoretically estimated major merger rates over a large range of mass (log Mbar/M⊙ =9.9-11.4) and redshift (z = 0.7-1.6). For this, we combined a new estimate of the merger rate from an exhaustive count of pairs within the virial radius of massive galaxies at z ˜ 1.265 and cross-validated with their morphology, with estimates from the morpho-kinematic analysis of two other samples. Theoretical predictions were estimated using semi-empirical models with inputs matching the properties of the observed samples, while specific visibility time-scales scaled to the observed samples were used. Both theory and observations are found to agree within 30 per cent of the observed value, which provides strong support to the hierarchical assembly of galaxies over the probed ranges of mass and redshift. Here, we find that ˜60 per cent of population of local massive (Mstellar =1010.3-11.6 M⊙) galaxies would have undergone a wet major merger since z = 1.5, consistently with previous studies. Such recent mergers are expected to result in the (re-)formation of a significant fraction of local disc galaxies.
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Myriam Rodrigues, M. Puech, H. Flores, F. Hammer, N. Pirzkal. Testing the hierarchical assembly of massive galaxies using accurate merger rates out to z ∼ 1.5. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2018, 475 (4), pp.5133-5143. ⟨10.1093/mnras/sty098⟩. ⟨hal-02296409⟩

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