We use Hubble Space Telescope/WFC3 imaging to study the red population in the IR-selected, X-ray detected, low-mass cluster Cl J1449+0856 at z = 2, one of the few bona fide established clusters discovered at this redshift, and likely a typical progenitor of an average massive cluster today. This study explores the presence and significance of an early red sequence in the core of this structure, investigating the nature of red-sequence galaxies, highlighting environmental effects on cluster galaxy populations at high redshift, and at the same time underlining similarities and differences with other distant dense environments. Our results suggest that the red population in the core of Cl J1449+0856 is made of a mixture of quiescent and dusty star-forming galaxies, with a seedling of the future red sequence already growing in the very central cluster region, and already characterizing the inner cluster core with respect to lower-density environments. On the other hand, the color-magnitude diagram of this cluster is definitely different from that of lower-redshift z ≲ 1 clusters, as well as of some rare particularly evolved massive clusters at similar redshift, and it is suggestive of a transition phase between active star formation and passive evolution occurring in the protocluster and established lower-redshift cluster regimes.
- galaxies: clusters: individual (Cl J1449+0856)
- galaxies: evolution
- galaxies: high-redshift