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The Dynamics and Distribution of Angular Momentum in HiZELS Star – Forming Galaxies at z = 0.8 – 3.3

Gillman, S; Swinbank, AM; Tiley, AL; Harrison, CM; Smail, Ian; Dudzevičiūtė, U; Sharples, RM; Best, PN; Bower, RG; Cochrane, R; Fisher, D; Geach, JE; Glazebrook, K; Ibar, Edo; Molina, J; Obreschkow, D; Schaller, M; Sobral, D; Sweet, S; Trayford, JW; Theuns, T

The Dynamics and Distribution of Angular Momentum in HiZELS Star – Forming Galaxies at z = 0.8 – 3.3 Thumbnail


S Gillman

AL Tiley

CM Harrison

Ian Smail

U Dudzevičiūtė

PN Best

RG Bower

R Cochrane

D Fisher

JE Geach

K Glazebrook

Edo Ibar

J Molina

D Obreschkow

M Schaller

D Sobral

S Sweet

JW Trayford


We present adaptive optics assisted integral field spectroscopy of 34 star–forming galaxies at z = 0.8–3.3 selected from the HiZELS narrow-band survey. We measure the kinematics of the ionised interstellar medium on ∼1 kpc scales, and show that the galaxies are turbulent, with a median ratio of rotational to dispersion support of V / σ = 0.82 ± 0.13. We combine the dynamics with high-resolution rest-frame optical imaging and extract emission line rotation curves. We show that high-redshift star forming galaxies follow a similar power-law trend in specific angular momentum with stellar mass as that of local late type galaxies. We exploit the high resolution of our data and examine the radial distribution of angular momentum within each galaxy by constructing total angular momentum profiles. Although the stellar mass of a typical star-forming galaxy is expected to grow by a factor ∼ 8 in the ∼5 Gyrs between z ∼ 3.3 and z ∼ 0.8, we show that the internal distribution of angular momentum becomes less centrally concentrated in this period i.e the angular momentum grows outwards. To interpret our observations, we exploit the EAGLE simulation and trace the angular momentum evolution of star forming galaxies from z ∼ 3 to z ∼ 0, identifying a similar trend of decreasing angular momentum concentration. This change is attributed to a combination of gas accretion in the outer disk, and feedback that preferentially arises from the central regions of the galaxy. We discuss how the combination of the growing bulge and angular momentum stabilises the disk and gives rise to the Hubble sequence.


Gillman, S., Swinbank, A., Tiley, A., Harrison, C., Smail, I., Dudzevičiūtė, U., …Theuns, T. (2019). The Dynamics and Distribution of Angular Momentum in HiZELS Star – Forming Galaxies at z = 0.8 – 3.3. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 486(1), 175-194.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2019
Publication Date Jun 30, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 26, 2019
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 486
Issue 1
Pages 175-194
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (3.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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