Using galaxy clusters from the ESO Distant Cluster Survey, we study how the distribution of galaxies along the colour-magnitude relation has evolved since z ∼ 0.8. While red-sequence galaxies in all these clusters are well described by an old, passively evolving population, we confirm our previous finding of a significant evolution in their luminosity distribution as a function of redshift. When compared to galaxy clusters in the local Universe, the high-redshift EDisCS clusters exhibit a significant deficit of faint red galaxies. Combining clusters in three different redshift bins, and defining as 'faint' all galaxies in the range 0.4 ≳ L/L≳ 0.1, we find a clear decrease in the luminous-to-faint ratio of red galaxies from z ∼ 0.8 to ∼0.4. The amount of such a decrease appears to be in qualitative agreement with predictions of a model where the blue bright galaxies that populate the colour-magnitude diagram of high-redshift clusters, have their star formation suppressed by the hostile cluster environment. Although model results need to be interpreted with caution, our findings clearly indicate that the red-sequence population of high-redshift clusters does not contain all progenitors of nearby red-sequence cluster galaxies. A significant fraction of these must have moved on to the red sequence below z ∼ 0.8.
- Galaxies: clusters: general
- Galaxies: evolution
- Galaxies: fundamental parameters
- Galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science