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Testing Cosmic Homogeneity Using Galaxy Clusters  [PDF]
Michael J. Longo
Physics , 2013,
Abstract: According to the cosmological principle, galaxy cluster sizes and cluster densities, when averaged over sufficiently large volumes of space, are expected to be constant everywhere, except for a slow variation with look-back time (redshift). Thus, average cluster sizes or correlation lengths provide a means of testing for homogeneity that is almost free of selection biases. Using ~10^6 galaxies from the SDSS DR7 survey, I show that regions of space separated by ~2 Gpc/h have the same average cluster size and density to 5 - 10 percent. I show that the average cluster size, averaged over many galaxies, remains constant to less than 10 percent from small redshifts out to redshifts of 0.25. The evolution of the cluster sizes with increasing redshift gives fair agreement when the same analysis is applied to the Millennium Simulation. However, the MS does not replicate the increase in cluster amplitudes with redshift seen in the SDSS data. This increase is shown to be caused by the changing composition of the SDSS sample with increasing redshifts. There is no evidence to support a model that attributes the SN Ia dimming to our happening to live in a large, nearly spherical void.
Testing cosmic homogeneity and isotropy using galaxy correlations  [PDF]
Michael J. Longo
Physics , 2014,
Abstract: Despite its fundamental importance in cosmology, there have been very few straight-forward tests of the cosmological principle. Such tests are especially timely because of the hemispherical asymmetry in the cosmic microwave background recently observed by the Planck collaboration. Most tests to date looked at the redshift dependence of cosmological parameters. These are subject to large systematic effects that require modeling and bias corrections. Unlike previous tests, the tests described here compare galaxy distributions in equal volumes at the same redshift z. This allows a straight-forward test and z-dependent biases are not a problem. Using ~10^6 galaxies from the SDSS DR7 survey, I show that re- gions of space separated by ~2 Gpc have the same average galaxy correlation radii, amplitudes, and number density to within approx. 5%, which is consistent with standard model expectations.
GAIA: AGB stars as tracers of star formation histories in the Galaxy and beyond  [PDF]
A. Kucinskas,L. Lindegren,T. Tanabe,V. Vansevicius
Physics , 2003,
Abstract: We discuss the tracing of star formation histories with ESA's space astrometry mission GAIA, emphasizing the advantages of AGB stars for this purpose. GAIA's microarcsecond-level astrometry, multi-band photometry and spectroscopy will provide individual distances, motions, effective temperatures, gravities and metallicities for vast numbers of AGB stars in the Galaxy and beyond. Reliable ages of AGB stars can be determined to distances of \~200 kpc in a wide range of ages and metallicities, allowing star formation histories to be studied in a diversity of astrophysical environments.
Early-Type Galaxy Star Formation Histories in Different Environments  [PDF]
Patrick J. Fitzpatrick,Genevieve J. Graves
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu2509
Abstract: We use very high-S/N stacked spectra of $\sim$29,000 nearby quiescent early-type galaxies (ETGs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to investigate variations in their star formation histories (SFHs) with environment at fixed position along and perpendicular to the Fundamental Plane (FP). We define three classifications of local group environment based on the `identities' of galaxies within their dark matter halos: central `Brightest Group Galaxies' (BGGs); Satellites; and Isolateds (those `most massive' in a dark matter halo with no Satellites). We find that the SFHs of quiescent ETGs are almost entirely determined by their structural parameters $\sigma$ and $\Delta I_e$. Any variation with local group environment at fixed structure is only slight: Satellites have the oldest stellar populations, 0.02 dex older than BGGs and 0.04 dex older than Isolateds; BGGs have the highest Fe-enrichments, 0.01 dex higher than Isolateds and 0.02 dex higher than Satellites; there are no differences in Mg-enhancement between BGGs, Isolateds, and Satellites. Our observation that, to zeroth-order, the SFHs of quiescent ETGs are fully captured by their structures places important qualitative constraints on the degree to which late-time evolutionary processes (those which occur after a galaxy's initial formation and main star-forming lifetime) can alter their SFHs/structures.
Mass distributions of star clusters for different star formation histories in a galaxy cluster environment  [PDF]
Christine Schulz,Jan Pflamm-Altenburg,Pavel Kroupa
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201425296
Abstract: Clusters of galaxies usually contain rich populations of globular clusters (GCs). We investigate how different star formation histories (SFHs) shape the final mass distribution of star clusters. We assume that every star cluster population forms during a formation epoch of length dt at a constant star-formation rate (SFR). The mass distribution of such a population is described by the embedded cluster mass function (ECMF), which is a pure power law extending to an upper limit M_max. Since the SFR determines M_max, the ECMF implicitly depends on the SFR. Starting with different SFHs, each SFH is divided into formation epochs of length dt at different SFRs. The requested mass function arises from the superposition of the star clusters of all formation epochs. An improved optimal sampling technique is introduced that allows generating number and mass distributions, both of which accurately agree with the ECMF. Moreover, for each SFH the distribution function of all involved SFRs, F(SFR), is computed. For monotonically decreasing SFHs, F(SFR) always follows a power law. With F(SFR), we develope the theory of the integrated galactic embedded cluster mass function (IGECMF). It describes the distribution function of birth stellar masses of star clusters that accumulated over a formation episode much longer than dt. The IGECMF indeed reproduces the mass distribution of star clusters created according to the superposition principle. Interestingly, all considered SFHs lead to a turn-down with increasing star cluster mass in their respective IGECMFs. In the past, a turn-down at the high-mass end has been observed for GC systems in different galaxy clusters and in the cluster initial mass function. This behavior can be explained naturally if the observed star cluster ensembles are superpositions of several individual star cluster populations that formed at different times at different SFRs.
Galaxy Zoo: Evidence for Diverse Star Formation Histories through the Green Valley  [PDF]
R. J. Smethurst,C. J. Lintott,B. D. Simmons,K. Schawinski,P. J. Marshall,S. Bamford,L. Fortson,S. Kaviraj,K. L. Masters,T. Melvin,R. C. Nichol,R. A. Skibba,K. W. Willett
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv161
Abstract: Does galaxy evolution proceed through the green valley via multiple pathways or as a single population? Motivated by recent results highlighting radically different evolutionary pathways between early- and late-type galaxies, we present results from a simple Bayesian approach to this problem wherein we model the star formation history (SFH) of a galaxy with two parameters, [t, \tau] and compare the predicted and observed optical and near-ultraviolet colours. We use a novel method to investigate the morphological differences between the most probable SFHs for both disc-like and smooth-like populations of galaxies, by using a sample of 126,316 galaxies (0.01 < z < 0.25) with probabilistic estimates of morphology from Galaxy Zoo. We find a clear difference between the quenching timescales preferred by smooth- and disc-like galaxies, with three possible routes through the green valley dominated by smooth- (rapid timescales, attributed to major mergers), intermediate- (intermediate timescales, attributed to minor mergers and galaxy interactions) and disc-like (slow timescales, attributed to secular evolution) galaxies. We hypothesise that morphological changes occur in systems which have undergone quenching with an exponential timescale \tau < 1.5 Gyr, in order for the evolution of galaxies in the green valley to match the ratio of smooth to disc galaxies observed in the red sequence. These rapid timescales are instrumental in the formation of the red sequence at earlier times; however we find that galaxies currently passing through the green valley typically do so at intermediate timescales.
Testing the Relation Between the Local and Cosmic Star Formation Histories  [PDF]
Brian D. Fields
Physics , 1998, DOI: 10.1086/307033
Abstract: Recently, there has been great progress toward observationally determining the mean star formation history of the universe. When accurately known, the cosmic star formation rate could provide much information about Galactic evolution, if the Milky Way's star formation rate is representative of the average cosmic star formation history. A simple hypothesis is that our local star formation rate is proportional to the cosmic mean. In addition, to specify a star formation history, one must also adopt an initial mass function (IMF); typically it is assumed that the IMF is a smooth function which is constant in time. We show how to test directly the compatibility of all these assumptions, by making use of the local (solar neighborhood) star formation record encoded in the present-day stellar mass function. Present data suggests that at least one of the following is false: (1) the local IMF is constant in time; (2) the local IMF is a smooth (unimodal) function; and/or (3) star formation in the Galactic disk was representative of the cosmic mean. We briefly discuss how to determine which of these assumptions fail, and improvements in observations which will sharpen this test.
Galaxy evolution in groups and clusters: satellite star formation histories and quenching timescales in a hierarchical Universe  [PDF]
Andrew R. Wetzel,Jeremy L. Tinker,Charlie Conroy,Frank C. van den Bosch
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt469
Abstract: Satellite galaxies in groups and clusters are more likely to have low star formation rates (SFR) and lie on the red-sequence than central (field) galaxies. Using galaxy group/cluster catalogs from SDSS DR7, together with a cosmological N-body simulation to track satellite orbits, we examine the star formation histories and quenching timescales of satellites of M_star > 5 x 10^9 M_sun at z=0. We first explore satellite infall histories: group preprocessing and ejected orbits are critical aspects of satellite evolution, and properly accounting for these, satellite infall typically occurred at z~0.5, or ~5 Gyr ago. To obtain accurate initial conditions for the SFRs of satellites at their time of first infall, we construct an empirical parametrization for the evolution of central galaxy SFRs and quiescent fractions. With this, we constrain the importance and efficiency of satellite quenching as a function of satellite and host halo mass, finding that satellite quenching is the dominant process for building up all quiescent galaxies at M_star < 10^10 M_sun. We then constrain satellite star formation histories, finding a 'delayed-then-rapid' quenching scenario: satellite SFRs evolve unaffected for 2-4 Gyr after infall, after which star formation quenches rapidly, with an e-folding time of < 0.8 Gyr. These quenching timescales are shorter for more massive satellites but do not depend on host halo mass: the observed increase in satellite quiescent fraction with halo mass arises simply because of satellites quenching in a lower mass group prior to infall (group preprocessing), which is responsible for up to half of quenched satellites in massive clusters. Because of the long time delay before quenching starts, satellites experience significant stellar mass growth after infall, nearly identical to central galaxies. This fact provides key physical insight into the subhalo abundance matching method.
The Star-Forming Histories of the Nucleus, Bulge, and Inner Disk of NGC 5102: Clues to the Evolution of a Nearby Lenticular Galaxy  [PDF]
T. J. Davidge
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/97
Abstract: Long slit spectra recorded with GMOS on Gemini South are used to examine the star-forming history of the lenticular galaxy NGC 5102. Structural and supplemental photometric information are obtained from archival Spitzer [3.6] images. Comparisons with model spectra point to luminosity-weighted metallicities that are consistent with the colors of resolved red giant branch stars in the disk. The nucleus has a luminosity-weighted age at visible wavelengths of ~1 Gyr, and the integrated light is dominated by stars that formed over a time period of only a few hundred Myr. For comparison, the luminosity-weighted ages of the bulge and disk are ~2 Gyr and ~10 Gyr, respectively. The g'-[3.6] colors of the nucleus and bulge are consistent with the spectroscopically-based ages. In contrast to the nucleus, models that assume star-forming activity spanning many Gyr provide a better match to the spectra of the bulge and disk than simple stellar population models. Isophotes in the bulge have a disky shape, hinting that the bulge was assembled from material with significant rotational support. The star-forming histories of the bulge and disk are consistent with the bulge forming from the collapse of a long-lived bar, and it is suggested that the progenitor of NGC 5102 was a barred disk galaxy that morphed into a lenticular galaxy through the buckling of its bar.
Galaxy merger histories and the role of merging in driving star formation at z>1  [PDF]
S. Kaviraj,J. Devriendt,Y. Dubois,A. Slyz,C. Welker,C. Pichon,S. Peirani,D. Le Borgne
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1500
Abstract: We use Horizon-AGN, a hydrodynamical cosmological simulation, to explore the role of mergers in the evolution of massive (M > 10^10 MSun) galaxies around the epoch of peak cosmic star formation (13 are 'blue' (i.e. have significant associated star formation), the proportion of 'red' mergers increases rapidly at z<2, with most merging systems at z~1.5 producing remnants that are red in rest-frame UV-optical colours. The star formation enhancement during major mergers is mild (~20-40%) which, together with the low incidence of such events, implies that this process is not a significant driver of early stellar mass growth. Mergers (R < 10:1) host around a quarter of the total star formation budget in this redshift range, with major mergers hosting around two-thirds of this contribution. Notwithstanding their central importance to the standard LCDM paradigm, mergers are minority players in driving star formation at the epochs where the bulk of today's stellar mass was formed.
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