AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 161 Cluster Evolution and Large Scale Structure
Oral, Thursday, January 13, 2005, 10:00-11:30am, Sunrise

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[161.02] Near Infrared Properties of High Redshift Clusters of Galaxies

Sune Toft (Yale)

The high density of galaxies in clusters makes them excellent laboratories for studying galaxy evolution. Clusters in the local Universe are dominated by old massive elliptical galaxies. By studying clusters over a range of redshifts one can trace the evolutionary history of these galaxies, and strongly constrain models of structure formation and evolution. High redshift clusters provide the strongest constraints. This thesis is a detailed observational study of two of the most distant clusters known (at redshifts z=1.00 and z=1.24). Taking advantage of extremely deep near infrared and optical observations obtained with the VLT, I develop a novel method for deriving the K-band luminosity function of the cluster galaxies (which is sensitive to their stellar mass function). The shape of the derived luminosity function is remarkably similar to that derived at similar restframe wavelengths in local clusters, only shifted to brighter magnitudes. This suggests that the massive elliptical galaxies that dominate the bright end of the K-band LF were largely in place at z~1. This is a challenge for current hierarchical models of galaxy formation which predict most of the massive elliptical galaxies to assemble at lower redshifts, but is well described by passive evolution models of galaxies assembled at high redshift (z>2).

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.astro.ku.dk:/~toft/thesis.ps. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: toft@astro.yale.edu

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