REQUIEM-2D: A Diversity of Formation Pathways in a Sample of Spatially Resolved Massive Quiescent Galaxies at z ∼ 2

Mohammad Akhshik, Katherine E. Whitaker, Joel Leja, Johan Richard, Justin S. Spilker, Mimi Song, Gabriel Brammer, Rachel Bezanson, Harald Ebeling, Anna R. Gallazzi, Guillaume Mahler, Lamiya A. Mowla, Erica J. Nelson, Camilla Pacifici, Keren Sharon, Sune Toft, Christina C. Williams, Lillian Wright, Johannes Zabl

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Abstract

REQUIEM-2D (Resolving Quiescent Magnified Galaxies with 2D Grism Spectroscopy) comprises a sample of eight massive ( log ( M ∗ / M ⊙ ) > 10.6 ) strongly lensed quiescent galaxies at z ∼ 2. REQUIEM-2D combines the natural magnification from strong gravitational lensing with the high-spatial-resolution grism spectroscopy of the Hubble Space Telescope through a spectrophotometric fit to study spatially resolved stellar populations. We show that quiescent galaxies in the REQUIEM-2D survey have diverse formation histories with age gradients at the 1σ-3σ level, including examples of (1) a younger central region supporting outside-in formation, (2) flat age gradients that show evidence for both spatially uniform early formation and inside-out quenching, and (3) regions at a fixed radial distance having different ages (such asymmetries cannot be recovered when averaging stellar population measurements azimuthally). The typical dust attenuation curve for the REQUIEM-2D galaxies is constrained to be steeper than Calzetti’s law in the UV and generally consistent with A V < 1. Combined together and accounting for the different physical radial distances and formation timescales, we find that the REQUIEM-2D galaxies that formed earlier in the universe exhibit slow and uniform growth in their inner core, whereas the galaxies that formed later have rapid inner growth in their inner core with younger ages than the outskirts. These results challenge the currently accepted paradigm of how massive quiescent galaxies form, where the earliest galaxies are thought to form most rapidly. Significantly larger samples close to the epoch of formation with similar data quality and higher spectral resolution are required to validate this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number179
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume943
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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