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The entertaining life of massive galaxies

Ignacio Trujillo (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Espagne)

Once understood as the paradigm of passively evolving objects, the discovery that massive galaxies experienced an enormous structural evolution in the last ten billion years has opened an active line of research. The most significant pending question in this field is the following : which mechanism has made galaxies to grow largely in size without altering their stellar populations properties dramatically ? The most viable explanation is that massive galaxies have undergone a significant number of minor mergers which have deposited most of their material in the outer regions of the massive galaxies. This scenario, although appealing, is still far from be observationally proved since the number of satellite galaxies surrounding the
massive objects appears insufficient at all redshifts. The presence also of a
population of nearby massive compact galaxies with mixture stellar properties is another piece of the puzzle that still does not nicely
fit within a comprehensive scheme. I will review these and other intriguing
properties of the massive galaxies in this talk.