Minor-merger-driven growth of early-type galaxies over the last 8 billion years
We summarise recent progress in understanding the star formation activity in early-type galaxies (ETGs), using recent studies that leverage photometry in the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. While classically thought to be old, passively-evolving systems, recent UV studies have revealed widespread star formation in ETGs, with ∼20% of the stellar mass in today's ETGs forming at late epochs (z <1). A strong correlation is found between the presence of morphological disturbances and blue UV colours, suggesting that the star formation is merger-driven. However, the major merger rate at late epochs is far too low to satisfy the number of disturbed ETGs, indicating that minor mergers drive the star formation in these galaxies over the latter half of cosmic time. Together with the recent literature which suggests that minor mergers may drive the size evolution of massive ETGs, these results highlight the significant role of minor mergers in driving the evolution of massive galaxies in the low and intermediate-redshift Universe.