Massive Galaxies – University of Copenhagen

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Dark Cosmology Centre > Research > Key Projects >> > Massive Galaxies

Massive Galaxies

A color composite image of a z=2.6 quiescent galaxy that has been gravitationally lensed by the foreground galaxy cluster MACS2129-0741.

A color composite image of a z=2.1 quiescent galaxy (in white box) that has been gravitationally lensed by the foreground galaxy cluster MACS2129-0741 (Toft et al. 2017).

The Massive Galaxies group at DARK studies the formation and evolution of the most massive galaxies in the high redshift universe.  We are investigating an evolutionary sequence that could tie together the most extreme galaxies in the universe - from the most intense dusty starbursts at cosmic dawn, to quasars (the brightest sources in the universe, driven by feedback from supermassive black holes and galaxy cores hosting the densest known concentrations of stellar mass), to the sleeping giants of the local universe, the giant ellipticals. 

Some of the specific questions we are currently researching include: 

  • How do the most massive galaxies in the Universe form?
  • How do galaxies quench their star formation and become quiescent?
  • How do galaxies grow throughout cosmic time?

Schematic illustration of the possible formation and evolutionary path of massive galaxies.


Current Group Members:

Former Group Members:

  • Nicholas Lee
  • Johannes Zabl
  • Allison Man
  • Karen Olsen
  • Andrew Zirm
  • Anna Gallazzi

Select Publications:

Steinhardt, C., et al.: Reconciling mass functions with the star-forming main sequence via mergers, MNRAS (2017)

Scoville, N., Lee, N., et al.: Evolution of Interstellar Medium, Star Formation, and Accretion at High Redshift, ApJ (2017)

Magdis, G., et al.: KROSS: mapping the Hα emission across the star formation sequence at z ≈ 1, MNRAS (2016)

Man, A., Zirm, A., Toft, S.: Resolving the Discrepancy of Galaxy Merger Fraction Measurements at z ~ 0-3, ApJ (2016)

Man, A., Greve, T., Toft, S., et al.: Confirming the Existence of a Quiescent Galaxy Population out to z=3: A Stacking Analysis of Mid-, Far-Infrared and Radio Data, ApJ (2016)

Zabl, J., et al.: Method for improving line flux and redshift measurements with narrowband filters, A&A (2016)

Olsen, K., et al.: Simulator of Galaxy Millimeter/Submillimeter Emission (SíGAME): The [C ii]-SFR Relationship of Massive z = 2 Main Sequence Galaxies, ApJ (2015)

Toft, S., et al.: Submillimeter Galaxies as Progenitors of Compact Quiescent Galaxies, ApJ (2014)

Speagle, J., Steinhardt, C., et al.: A Highly Consistent Framework for the Evolution of the Star-Forming "Main Sequence" from z ~ 0-6, ApJS (2014)


The Massive Galaxies group at DARK is funded by the ERC Consolidator grant “Connecting the Extreme” (ConTEXt, grant number 648179, PI:Toft), and the Villum young investigator grant "Gas to Dust, Dust to Stars” (grant number 13160, PI: Magdis).