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The other side of Bulge Formation in a Lambda-CDM cosmology: Bulgeless Galaxies in the Local Universe

By Fabio Fontanot, Gabriella De Lucia, David Wilman and Pierluigi Monaco


We study the physical properties, formation histories, and environment of galaxies without a significant "classical" spheroidal component, as predicted by semi-analytical models of galaxy formation and evolution. This work is complementary to the analysis presented in De Lucia et al., (2011), where we focus on the relative contribution of various physical mechanisms responsible for bulge assembly in a Lambda-CDM cosmology. We find that the fraction of bulgeless galaxies is a strong decreasing function of stellar mass: they represent a negligible fraction of the galaxy population with M* > 10^12 Msun, but dominate at M* < 10^10 Msun. We find a clear dichotomy in this galaxy population, between central galaxies of low-mass dark matter haloes, and satellite galaxies in massive groups/clusters. We show that bulgeless galaxies are relatively young systems, that assemble most of their mass at low-redshift, but they can also host very old stellar populations. Since galaxy-galaxy mergers are assumed to lead to the formation of a spheroidal component, in our models these galaxies form preferentially in low-mass haloes that host a small number of satellites galaxies. We show that the adopted modelling for galaxy mergers represents a key ingredient in determining the actual number of bulgeless galaxies. Our results show that these galaxies are not a rare population in theoretical models: at z~0, galaxies with no classical bulge (but often including galaxies with the equivalent of pseudo-bulges) account for up to 14% of the galaxies with 10^11 < M*/Msun < 10^12.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS; updated version with additional comparisons with observation

Topics: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19047.x
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