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Astron. Astrophys. 318, 729-740 (1997)

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9. Conclusions

No evidence is found, within the errors in the data, for an association between the faint blue galaxies and [FORMULA] candidates for separations less than 1 arcmin, corresponding to scales of [FORMULA] few hundred kpc. This is inconsistent with some merger models of galaxy evolution which predict that the faint blue galaxies have nearby parent giants with which they later merge; if this effect did occur significantly, it would have to be at a redshift [FORMULA] Similarly, although a complete understanding of galaxy mergers is still lacking, recent work on the hierarchical merging of haloes (e.g. Kauffmann & White 1993; Lacey & Cole 1993; Kauffmann et al. 1994; Cole et al. 1994) may suggest that, while giant galaxies could well be built up in this way, the merger rate may not be sufficient to explain the very large numbers of faint galaxies actually seen (pre-merger sub-units in this theory). Our current result may therefore be additional evidence in favour of a fading scenario over merging as being the fate of the faint blue galaxy population, at least to the extent that the latter are seen at moderate redshifts, as is usually presumed.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: July 3, 1998