Accelerated Structural Evolution of Galaxies in a Starbursting Cluster at z = 2.51

Can Xu, Tao Wang, Qiusheng Gu, Anita Zanella, Ke Xu, Hanwen Sun, Veronica Strazzullo, Francesco Valentino, Raphael Gobat, Emanuele Daddi, David Elbaz, Mengyuan Xiao, Shiying Lu, Luwenjia Zhou

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Structural properties of cluster galaxies during their peak formation epoch, z ∼ 2-4 provide key information on whether and how the environment affects galaxy formation and evolution. Based on deep Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) imaging toward the z = 2.51 cluster, J1001, we explore environmental effects on the structure, color gradients, and stellar populations of a statistical sample of cluster star-forming galaxies (SFGs). We find that the cluster SFGs are on average smaller than their field counterparts. This difference is most pronounced at the high-mass end (M > 1010.5 M ), with nearly all of them lying below the mass-size relation of field galaxies. The high-mass cluster SFGs are also generally old, with a steep negative color gradient, indicating an early formation time likely associated with strong dissipative collapse. For low-mass cluster SFGs, we unveil a population of compact galaxies with steep positive color gradients that are not seen in the field. This suggests that the low-mass compact cluster SFGs may have already experienced strong environmental effects, e.g., tidal/ram pressure stripping, in this young cluster. These results provide evidence on the environmental effects at work in the earliest formed clusters with different roles in the formation of low- and high-mass galaxies.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoL21
PublicaciónAstrophysical Journal Letters
EstadoPublicada - 1 jul. 2023


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