High resolution study of the cluster complexes in a lensed spiral at redshift ~1.5; constraints on the bulge formation and disk evolution
We analyse the clump population of the spiral galaxy Sp 1149 at redshift 1.5. Located behind the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223, Sp 1149 has been significantly magnified allowing us to study the galaxy on physical scales down to ~100 pc. We have used the publicly available multi-band imaging dataset (CLASH) to reconstruct the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of the clumps in Sp 1149, and derive, by means of stellar evolutionary models, their physical properties. We found that 40% of the clumps observed in Sp 1149 are older than 30 Myr and can be as old as 300 Myr. These are also the more massive (luminous) clumps in the galaxy. Among the complexes in the local reference sample, the star-forming knots in luminous blue compact galaxies could be considered progenitor analogs of these long-lived clumps. The remaining 60% of clumps have colors comparable to local cluster complexes, suggesting a similar young age. We observe that the Sp 1149 clumps follow the M ~ R^2 relation similar to local cluster complexes, suggesting similar formation mechanisms although they may have different initial conditions (e.g. higher gas surface densities). We suggest that the galaxy is experiencing a slow decline in star formation rate and a likely transitional phase toward a more quiescent star-formation mode. The older clumps have survived between 6 and 20 dynamical times and are all located at projected distances smaller than 4 kpc from the centre. Their current location suggests migration toward the centre and the possibility to be the building blocks of the bulge. On the other hand, the dynamical timescale of the younger clumps are significantly shorter, meaning that they are quite close to their birthplace. We show that the clumps of Sp 1149 may account for the expected metal-rich globular cluster population usually associated with the bulge and thick disk components of local spirals.