Primus: Constraints on star formation quenching and galaxy merging, and the evolution of the stellar mass function from z = 0-1

John Moustakas, Alison L. Coil, James Aird, Michael R. Blanton, Richard J. Cool, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Alexander J. Mendez, Kenneth C. Wong, Guangtun Zhu, Stéphane Arnouts

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We measure the evolution of the stellar mass function (SMF) from z = 0-1 using multi-wavelength imaging and spectroscopic redshifts from the PRism MUlti-object Survey (PRIMUS) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). From PRIMUS we construct an i < 23 flux-limited sample of ∼40, 000 galaxies at z = 0.2-1.0 over five fields totaling ≈5.5 deg2, and from the SDSS we select ∼170, 000 galaxies at z = 0.01-0.2 that we analyze consistently with respect to PRIMUS to minimize systematic errors in our evolutionary measurements. We find that the SMF of all galaxies evolves relatively little since z = 1, although we do find evidence for mass assembly downsizing; we measure a ≈30% increase in the number density of ∼10 10M galaxies since z ≈ 0.6, and a ≲ 10% change in the number density of all ≳ 1011M galaxies since z ≈ 1. Dividing the sample into star-forming and quiescent using an evolving cut in specific star formation rate, we find that the number density of ∼1010M star-forming galaxies stays relatively constant since z ≈ 0.6, whereas the space density of ≳ 1011M star-forming galaxies decreases by ≈50% between z ≈ 1 and z ≈ 0. Meanwhile, the number density of ∼10 10M quiescent galaxies increases steeply toward low redshift, by a factor of ∼2-3 since z ≈ 0.6, while the number of massive quiescent galaxies remains approximately constant since z ≈ 1. These results suggest that the rate at which star-forming galaxies are quenched increases with decreasing stellar mass, but that the bulk of the stellar mass buildup within the quiescent population occurs around ∼1010.8 . In addition, we conclude that mergers do not appear to be a dominant channel for the stellar mass buildup of galaxies at z < 1, even among massive (≳ 10 11M ) quiescent galaxies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number50
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume767
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 10 2013

    Keywords

    • galaxies: evolution
    • galaxies: high-redshift
    • large-scale structure of universe
    • surveys

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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    Moustakas, J., Coil, A. L., Aird, J., Blanton, M. R., Cool, R. J., Eisenstein, D. J., Mendez, A. J., Wong, K. C., Zhu, G., & Arnouts, S. (2013). Primus: Constraints on star formation quenching and galaxy merging, and the evolution of the stellar mass function from z = 0-1. Astrophysical Journal, 767(1), [50]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/767/1/50