Conditional quenching: a detailed look at the SFR-density relation at z ∼ 0.9 from ORELSE

April 2019 • 2019MNRAS.484.4695T

Authors • Tomczak, Adam R. • Lemaux, Brian C. • Lubin, Lori M. • Pelliccia, Debora • Shen, Lu • Gal, Roy R. • Hung, Denise • Kocevski, Dale D. • Le Fèvre, Olivier • Mei, Simona • Rumbaugh, Nicholas • Squires, Gordon K. • Wu, Po-Feng

Abstract • We present a study of the star formation rate (SFR)-density relation at z ∼ 0.9 using data drawn from the Observations of Redshift Evolution in Large Scale Environments (ORELSE) survey. We find that SFR does depend on environment, but only for intermediate-stellar mass galaxies (1010.1 < M*/M < 1010.8) wherein the median SFR at the highest densities is 0.2-0.3 dex less than at lower densities at a significance of 4σ. Galaxies that are more/less massive than this have SFRs that vary at most by {≈ }20{{ per cent}} across all environments, but show no statistically significant trend. We further split galaxies into low-redshift (z ∼ 0.8) and high-redshift (z ∼ 1.05) subsamples and observe nearly identical behaviour. We devise a simple toy model to explore possible star formation histories for galaxies evolving between these redshifts. The key assumption in this model is that star-forming galaxies in a given environment-stellar mass bin can be described as a superposition of two exponential time-scales (SFR ∝ e-t/τ): a long-τ time-scale with τ = 4 Gyr to simulate `normal' star-forming galaxies, and a short-τ time-scale with free τ (between 0.3 ≤ τ/Gyr ≤ 2) to simulate galaxies on a quenching trajectory. In general, we find that galaxies residing in low/high environmental densities are more heavily weighted to the long-τ/short-τ pathways, respectively, which we argue is a signature of environmental quenching. Furthermore, for intermediate-stellar mass galaxies this transition begins at intermediate-density environments suggesting that environmental quenching is relevant in group-like haloes and/or cluster infall regions.


IPAC Authors


Gordon Squires

Senior Scientist