The evolution of post-starburst galaxies from z ∼ 1 to the present.
PATTARAKIJWANICH P., STRAUSS M.A., HO S. and ROSS N.P.
Abstract (from CDS):
Post-starburst galaxies are in the transitional stage between blue, star-forming galaxies and red, quiescent galaxies and therefore hold important clues for our understanding of galaxy evolution. In this paper, we systematically searched for and identified a large sample of post-starburst galaxies from the spectroscopic data set of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 9. In total, we found more than 6000 objects with redshifts between z ∼ 0.05 and z ∼ 1.3, making this the largest sample of post-starburst galaxies in the literature. We calculated the luminosity function of the post-starburst galaxies using two uniformly selected subsamples: the SDSS main galaxy sample and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey CMASS sample. The luminosity functions are reasonably fit by half-Gaussian functions. The peak magnitudes shift as a function of redshift from M ∼ -23.5 at z ∼ 0.8 to M ∼ -20.3 at z ∼ 0.1. This is consistent with the downsizing trend, whereby more massive galaxies form earlier than low-mass galaxies. We compared the mass of the post-starburst stellar population found in our sample to the decline of the global star formation rate and found that only a small amount (∼1%) of all star formation quenching in the redshift range z = 0.2-0.7 results in post-starburst galaxies in the luminosity range our sample is sensitive to. Therefore, luminous post-starburst galaxies are not the place where most of the decline in the star formation rate of the universe is happening.