Universiteit Leiden

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Shaping Massive Galaxies: the structural evolution of galaxies across

Galaxies in the local Universe fall into two main categories of spirals and ellipticals. In this Thesis, we explore the structural evolution of galaxies into this bimodal distribution.

de Graaf, A.
15 September 2022
Thesis in Leiden Repository

To do so, we study galaxies in the context of the Fundamental Plane, the tight scaling relation between galaxy size, kinematics and luminosity, which connects the structural and stellar population properties of galaxies. This work is built on a combination of observational data and theoretical models. Large spectroscopic surveys are used to construct a representative sample of massive quiescent and star-forming galaxies across 8 Gyr of cosmic time. We hence show that there is strong variation and evolution in the mass-to-light ratios of galaxies, due to evolution in the stellar populations. However, surprisingly, all galaxies lie on a single mass Fundamental Plane, which does not evolve with time. Cosmological simulations are used to assess the structural properties that may underlie the observed mass Fundamental Plane. Based on the simulations, we propose that this relation may originate from a systematic variation in the central dark matter content within galaxies as a function of their size and mass.

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