Conference paper Open Access
Throughout the Hubble time, gas makes its way from the intergalactic medium into galaxies fuelling their star formation and promoting their growth. One of the key properties of the accreting gas is its angular momentum, which has profound implications for the evolution of, in particular, disc galaxies. Here, we discuss how to infer the angular momentum of the accreting gas using observations of present-day galaxy discs. We first summarize evidence for ongoing inside-out growth of star forming discs. We then focus on the chemistry of the discs and show how the observed metallicity gradients can be explained if gas accretes onto a disc rotating with a velocity 20%-30% lower than the local circular speed. We also show that these gradients are incompatible with accretion occurring at the edge of the discs and flowing radially inward. Finally, we investigate gas accretion from a hot corona with a cosmological angular momentum distribution and describe how simple models of rotating coronae guarantee the inside-out growth of disc galaxies.