IACTalks

Back Menu

Indiana Jones and where to find relic galaxies


Fernando Buitrago
Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA)

November 28th, 2018


Abstract

There are galaxies that remain untouched since the ancient
Universe. These unique objects, the so-called relic galaxies, are several times
more massive than our Milky Way but with much smaller sizes, and
containing very old (>10 Gyr) stellar populations. For the very few of
them already found and analysed (most of them by our IAC colleagues),
they seem to host "too heavy" central
super massive black holes, also displaying an overabundance of low mass
versus high mass stars and retaining their primeval morphologies and
kinematics. How did they survive until the present day? Simulations
predict that they reside in galaxy overdensities whose large internal
random motions prevent galaxies from merging. However, we have not yet
determined observationally neither the environments these galaxies
inhabit nor how many there are (their number densities). We make use
of the GAMA survey, that allows us to conduct a complete
census of this elusive galaxy population, because of its large area and
spectroscopic completeness. After inspecting 180 square degrees of the sky
using the deepest photometric images available, we identified 29
massive ultracompact galaxies in the nearby Universe (0.02 < z < 0.3),
that are true windows to the ancient Universe. I will present the first paper
about this exceptional sample, describing their properties and
highlighting the fact that while some galaxies seem to be satellites
of bigger objects, others are not located in clusters, at odds with the
theoretical expectations.