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Tracking the Formation of Thick Stellar Disks over the Last 10 Billion Years

Presentation #329.01 in the session Evolution of Galaxies VI.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Tracking the Formation of Thick Stellar Disks over the Last 10 Billion Years

In disk galaxies such as our Milky Way, older stars generally inhabit a thicker disk than their younger counterparts. Two competing models have attempted to explain this result: one in which stellar disks form thin and thicken internally with time, and one in which disks form thick then progressively thin as galaxies age. A direct measure of the thickness of stellar disks at high redshift is needed to discriminate these scenarios. Using archival UV-IR HST imaging from CANDELS, we have measured the stellar scale heights of 508 disk galaxies spanning over 10 billion years of cosmic time (0 < z < 2). In this talk, I will show how the scale heights of galaxies evolve with time and as a function of galaxy mass – and discuss what these results reveal about the formation history of today’s disks.

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