Morphological number counts and redshift distributions to I< 26 from the hubble deep field: Implications for the evolution of ellipticals, spirals, and irregulars

S. P. Driver, A. Fernández-Soto, W. J. Couch, S. C. Odewahn, Rogier Windhorst, S. Phillipps, K. Lanzetta, A. Yahil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

We combine the photometric redshift data of Fernández-Soto et al. with the morphological data of Odewahn et al. for all galaxies with 1 < 26.0 detected in the Hubble Deep Field. From this combined catalog we generate the morphological galaxy number counts and corresponding redshift distributions and compare these to the predictions of high-normalization zero- and passive-evolution models. From this comparison we conclude the following: 1. E/S0's are seen in numbers and over a redshift range consistent with zero-evolution or minimal passive-evolution to I = 24. Beyond this limit, fewer E/S0's are observed than predicted implying a net negative evolutionary process-luminosity dimming, disassembly or masking by dust-at I < 24. The breadth of the redshift distribution at faint magnitudes implies strong clustering or an extended epoch of formation commencing at z < 3. 2. Spiral galaxies are present in numbers consistent with zero - evolution predictions to I = 22. Beyond this magnitude some net positive evolution is required. Although the number counts are consistent with the passiveevolution predictions to I = 26.0, the redshift distributions favor number and luminosity evolution, although few obvious mergers are seen (possibly classified as irregulars). We note that beyond z ∼ 2 very few ordered spirals are seen suggesting a formation epoch of spiral galaxies at z ∼ 1.5-2. 3. There is no obvious explanation for the late-type/irregular class, and this category requires further subdivision. While a small fraction of the population lies at low redshift (i.e., true irregulars), the majority lie at redshifts 1 < z < 3. At z > 1.5 mergers are frequent and, taken in conjunction with the absence of normal spirals at z > 2, the logical inference is that they represent the progenitors of normal spirals that form via hierarchical merging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L93-L96
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume496
Issue number2 PART II
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: irregular
  • Galaxies: spiral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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