Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Imaging of Red and Blue Galaxies at z ~ 2.5: A Correlation between Size and Star Formation Activity from Compact Quiescent Galaxies to Extended Star-forming Galaxies**Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555; observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under NASA contract 1407; and observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile (ESO Program 164.O-0612). Academic Article uri icon


  • We present HST NICMOS+ACS and Spitzer IRAC+MIPS observations of 41 galaxies at 2 < z < 3.5 in the FIRES MS 1054 field with red and blue rest-frame optical colors. About half of the galaxies are very compact (effective radii re < 1 kpc) at rest-frame optical wavelengths; the others are extended (1 kpc < re < 10 kpc). For reference, 1 kpc corresponds to 0.12'' at z = 2.5 in the adopted cosmology. We separate actively star-forming galaxies from quiescent galaxies by modeling their rest-frame UV-NIR SEDs. The star-forming galaxies span the full range of sizes, while the quiescent galaxies all have re < 2 kpc. In the redshift range where MIPS 24 m imaging is a sensitive probe of reradiated dust emission (z < 2.5), the 24 m fluxes confirm that the light of the small quiescent galaxies is dominated by old stars, rather than dust-enshrouded star formation or AGN activity. The inferred surface mass densities and velocity dispersions for the quiescent galaxies are very high compared to those in local galaxies. The galaxies follow a Kormendy relation (between surface brightness and size) with approximately the same slope as locally, but shifted to brighter surface brightnesses, consistent with a mean stellar formation redshift of zf 5. This paper demonstrates a direct relation between star formation activity and size at z 2.5 and the existence of a significant population of massive, extremely dense, old stellar systems without readily identifiable counterparts in the local universe. 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • The Astrophysical Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Toft, S., van Dokkum, P., Franx, M., Labbe, I., Schreiber, N., Wuyts, S., ... Moorwood, A.

citation count

  • 214

complete list of authors

  • Toft, S||van Dokkum, P||Franx, M||Labbe, I||Schreiber, NM Förster||Wuyts, S||Webb, T||Rudnick, G||Zirm, A||Kriek, M||van der Werf, P||Blakeslee, JP||Illingworth, G||Rix, H-W||Papovich, C||Moorwood, A

publication date

  • December 2007