Towards a physical picture of star formation quenching: The photometric properties of recently quenched galaxies in the sloan digital sky survey

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sts489
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TypeArticle
Journal titleMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
ISSN0035-8711
Volume429
Issue3
Pages22122227; # of pages: 16
AbstractWe select a sample of young passive galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data release 7 in order to study the processes that quench star formation in the local universe. Quenched galaxies are identified based on the contribution of A-type stars to their observed (central) spectra and relative lack of ongoing star formation; we find that such systems account for roughly 2.5 per cent of all galaxies with log(M/M⊙)≥ = 9.5, and have a space density of ~2.2×10-4 Mpc-3.We show that quenched galaxies span a range of morphologies, but visual classifications suggest that they are predominantly early-type systems. Their visual early-type classification is supported by quantitative structural measurements (śersic indices) that show a notable lack of disc-dominated galaxies, suggesting that any morphological transformation associated with galaxies' transition from star forming to passive - e.g. the formation of a stellar bulge - occurs contemporaneously with the decline of their star formation activity. We show that there is no clear excess of optical active galactic nuclei (AGN) in quenched galaxies, suggesting that: (i) AGN feedback is not associated with the majority of quenched systems or (ii) that the observability of quenched galaxies is such that the quenching phase in general outlives any associated nuclear activity. Comparison with classical post-starburst galaxies shows that both populations show similar signatures of bulge growth, and we suggest that the defining characteristic of post-starburst galaxies is the efficiency of their bulge growth rather than a particular formation mechanism. © 2011 The authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269852
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Record identifiera1b269ad-8745-41e5-b536-d8527e3574ad
Record created2013-12-13
Record modified2016-05-09
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