Bulge Growth and Quenching since z = 2.5 in CANDELS/3D-HST

P. Lang, S. Wuyts, R. S. Somerville, N. M. Förster Schreiber, R. Genzel, E. F. Bell, G. Brammer, A. Dekel, S. M. Faber, H. C. Ferguson, N. A. Grogin, D. D. Kocevski, A. M. Koekemoer, D. Lutz, E. J. McGrath, I. Momcheva, E. J. Nelson, J. R. Primack, D. J. Rosario, R. E. SkeltonL. J. Tacconi, P. G. van Dokkum, K. E. Whitaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Citations (SciVal)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Exploiting the deep high-resolution imaging of all five CANDELS fields, and accurate redshift information provided by 3D-HST, we investigate the relation between structure and stellar populations for a mass-selected sample of 6764 galaxies above 1010 M ☉, spanning the redshift range 0.5 < z < 2.5. For the first time, we fit two-dimensional models comprising a single Sérsic fit and two-component (i.e., bulge + disk) decompositions not only to the H-band light distributions, but also to the stellar mass maps reconstructed from resolved stellar population modeling. We confirm that the increased bulge prominence among quiescent galaxies, as reported previously based on rest-optical observations, remains in place when considering the distributions of stellar mass. Moreover, we observe an increase of the typical Sérsic index and bulge-to-total ratio (with median B/T reaching 40%-50%) among star-forming galaxies above 1011 M ☉. Given that quenching for these most massive systems is likely to be imminent, our findings suggest that significant bulge growth precedes a departure from the star-forming main sequence. We demonstrate that the bulge mass (and ideally knowledge of the bulge and total mass) is a more reliable predictor of the star-forming versus quiescent state of a galaxy than the total stellar mass. The same trends are predicted by the state-of-the-art, semi-analytic model by Somerville et al. In this model, bulges and black holes grow hand in hand through merging and/or disk instabilities, and feedback from active galactic nuclei shuts off star formation. Further observations will be required to pin down star formation quenching mechanisms, but our results imply that they must be internal to the galaxies and closely associated with bulge growth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date16 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2014


  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • galaxies: structure


Dive into the research topics of 'Bulge Growth and Quenching since z = 2.5 in CANDELS/3D-HST'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this