Are major mergers important?

Sugata Kaviraj

Major mergers have been classically thought to inducing strong star formation episodes, black hole growth and morphological transformations. We present observational evidence that argues against major mergers having a prominent role in driving cosmic star formation and creating spheroids in the early Universe. Employing visually-classified morphologies from HST (via the WFC3 Early-Release Science programme), we show that only ~15% of the cosmic star formation budget can be attributed to the major-merger process at z~2. Furthermore, at least 50% of blue spheroids at 1

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