Mass and redshift dependence of star formation in relaxed galaxy clusters

Rose A. Finn, Michael L. Balogh, Dennis F Zaritsky, Christopher J. Miller, Robert C. Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate the star formation properties of dynamically relaxed galaxy clusters as a function of cluster mass for 308 low-redshift clusters drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) C4 cluster catalog. It is important to establish if cluster star formation properties have a mass dependence before comparing clusters at different epochs, and here we use cluster velocity dispersion, σ, as a measure of cluster mass. We select clusters with no significant substructure, a subset of the full C4 sample, so that velocity dispersion is an accurate tracer of cluster mass. We find that the total stellar mass, the number of star-forming galaxies, and total star formation rate scale linearly with the number of member galaxies, with no residual dependence on cluster velocity dispersion. With the mass-dependence of cluster star formation rates established, we compare the SDSS clusters with a sample of z ≃ 0.75 clusters from the literature and find that on average (correcting for the mass growth of clusters between the two redshifts) the total Ha luminosity of the high-redshift clusters is 10 times greater than that of the low-redshift clusters. This can be explained by a decline in the Ha luminosities of individual cluster galaxies by a factor of up to ∼10 since z ≃ 0.75. The magnitude of this evolution is comparable to that of field galaxies over a similar redshift interval, and thus the effect of the cluster environment on the evolution of star-forming galaxies is at most modest. Our results suggest that the physical mechanism driving the evolution of cluster star formation rates is independent of cluster mass, at least for clusters with velocity dispersion greater than 450 km s_1, and operates over a fairly long timescale such that the star formation rates of individual galaxies decline by an order of magnitude over ∼7 billion years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume679
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2008

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star formation
galaxies
star formation rate
tracer
timescale
rate
luminosity
stars
stellar mass
substructures

Keywords

  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Mass and redshift dependence of star formation in relaxed galaxy clusters. / Finn, Rose A.; Balogh, Michael L.; Zaritsky, Dennis F; Miller, Christopher J.; Nichol, Robert C.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 679, No. 1, 20.05.2008, p. 279-292.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Finn, Rose A. ; Balogh, Michael L. ; Zaritsky, Dennis F ; Miller, Christopher J. ; Nichol, Robert C. / Mass and redshift dependence of star formation in relaxed galaxy clusters. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2008 ; Vol. 679, No. 1. pp. 279-292.
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