Using observations from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE), we obtain the deepest measurements to date of the galaxy stellar mass function (SMF) at 0.2 < z < 3. ZFOURGE provides well-constrained photometric redshifts made possible through deep medium-bandwidth imaging at 1-2 μm. We combine this with Hubble Space Telescope imaging from the Cosmic Assembly Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey, allowing for the efficient selection of both blue and red galaxies down to stellar masses of 109.5 M at z ; 2.5. The total surveyed area is 316 arcmin2 distributed over three independent fields. We supplement these data with the wider and shallower NEWFIRM Medium-Band Survey to provide stronger constraints at high masses. Several studies at z ≤ 1.5 have revealed a steepening of the slope at the low-mass end of the SMF, leading to an upturn at masses <1010 M that is not well described by a standard single-Schechter function. We find evidence that this feature extends to at least z 2 and that it can be found in both the star-forming and quiescent populations individually. The characteristic mass (M*) and slope at the lowest masses (α) of a double-Schechter function fit to the SMF stay roughly constant at Log(M/M 10.65 and -1.5, respectively. The SMF of star-forming galaxies has evolved primarily in normalization, while the change in shape is relatively minor. Our data allow us, for the first time, to observe a rapid buildup at the low-mass end of the quiescent SMF. Since z = 2.5, the total stellar mass density of quiescent galaxies (down to 109 M has increased by a factor of 12, whereas the mass density of star-forming galaxies only increases by a factor of 2.2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science