Star formation histories in a cluster environment at z ∼ 0.84

R. Demarco, R. Gobat, P. Rosati, C. Lidman, A. Rettura, M. Nonino, A. Van Der Wel, M. J. Jee, J. P. Blakeslee, H. C. Ford, M. Postman

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We present a spectrophotometric analysis of galaxies belonging to the dynamically young, massive cluster RX J0152.7-1357 at z ∼ 0.84, aimed at understanding the effects of the cluster environment on the star formation history (SFH) of cluster galaxies and the assembly of the red sequence (RS). We use VLT/FORS spectroscopy, ACS/WFC optical, and NTT/SofI near-IR data to characterize SFHs as a function of color, luminosity,morphology, stellar mass, and local environment from a sample of 134 spectroscopic members. In order to increase the signalto- noise ratio, individual galaxy spectra are stacked according to these properties. Moreover, the D4000, Balmer, CN3883, Fe4383, and C4668 indices are also quantified. The SFH analysis shows that galaxies in the blue faint-end of the RS have on average younger stars (Δt ∼ 2 Gyr) than those in the red bright-end. We also found, for a given luminosity range, differences in age (Δt ∼ 0.5-1.3 Gyr) as a function of color, indicating that the intrinsic scatter of the RS may be due to age variations. Passive galaxies in the blue faint-end of the RS are preferentially located in the low density areas of the cluster, likely being objects entering the RS from the "blue cloud." It is likely that the quenching of the star formation of these RS galaxies is due to interaction with the intraclustermedium. Furthermore, the SFH of galaxies in the RS as a function of stellar mass reveals signatures of "downsizing" in the overall cluster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1276
Number of pages25
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: individual (RX J0152.7-1357)
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation


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