NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0128

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0128


PI: Emanuele Daddi, NOAO-Tucson, edaddi@noao.edu
Address: Science Division, P.O. Box 26732, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

CoI: Andrea Cimatti, INAF-Arcetri (Italy)
CoI: Alvio Renzini, INAF-Padova (Italy)
CoI: Xu Kong, USTC (China)
CoI: Nobuo Arimoto, NAOJ (Japan)
CoI: Mark Dickinson, NOAO-Tucson

Title: A census of fossil galaxies in the redshift desert

Abstract: More than half of all stars in the local Universe are found in massive elliptical galaxies, which are characterized by old stellar populations with little or no current star formation. While actively star-forming galaxies are now routinely discovered and studied in great detail up to z=6.5, very little is yet known about passive early type galaxies beyond z~1, because these objects are very faint in the optical. We have recently demonstrated that passively evolving early type galaxies exist in the field all the way up to z~2.5, and pioneered a new technique based on BzK colors to efficiently pre- select them in the redshift desert 1.4<z<2.5. However, up to now less than 2 dozen passive objects with known spectroscopic redshift exist in the above redshift range, scattered over several fields. Here we propose a very deep, single mask 3-night-long nod-and-shuffle spectroscopy with Magellan+IMACS in our survey field containing 284 BzK-selected passive galaxy candidates at 1.4<z<2.5 in order to measure their redshifts and confirm their nature of fossil, passively evolving galaxies. This will allow us to unveil with unprecedented detail their spatial density, distribution of physical properties (e.g. stellar masses, ages), and clustering strength, quantifying the evolution of early type galaxies to the highest redshifts. These measurements will result in critical tests for theoretical models of galaxy formation and evolution.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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