Astrophys. J., 736, 38 (2011/July-3)
Obscured starburst activity in high-redshift clusters and groups.
KOCEVSKI D.D., LEMAUX B.C., LUBIN L.M., GAL R., McGRATH E.J., FASSNACHT C.D., SQUIRES G.K., SURACE J.A. and LACY M.
Abstract (from CDS):
Using Spitzer-Multiband Imaging Photometer 24 µm imaging and extensive Keck spectroscopy, we examine the nature of the obscured star-forming population in three clusters and three groups at z ∼ 0.9. These six systems are the primary components of the Cl1604 supercluster, the largest structure imaged by Spitzer at redshifts approaching unity. We find that the average density of 24 µm detected galaxies within the Cl1604 clusters is nearly twice that of the surrounding field and that this overdensity scales with the cluster's dynamical state. The 24 µm bright members often appear optically unremarkable and exhibit only moderate [O II] line emission due to severe obscuration. Their spatial distribution suggests that they are an infalling population, but an examination of their spectral properties, morphologies, and optical colors indicates that they are not simply analogs of the field population that have yet to be quenched. Using stacked composite spectra, we find that the 24 µm detected cluster and group galaxies exhibit elevated levels of Balmer absorption compared with galaxies undergoing normal, continuous star formation. A similar excess is not observed in field galaxies with equivalent infrared luminosities, indicating a greater fraction of the detected cluster and group members have experienced a burst of star formation in the recent past compared to their counterparts in the field. Our results suggest that gas-rich galaxies at high redshift experience a temporary increase in their star formation activity as they assemble into denser environments. Using Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys imaging, we find that disturbed morphologies are common among the 24 µm detected cluster and group members and become more prevalent in regions of higher galaxy density. We conclude that mergers are the dominant triggering mechanism responsible for the enhanced star formation found in the Cl1604 groups, while a mix of harassment and mergers are likely driving the activity of the cluster galaxies.
galaxies: active - galaxies: clusters: general - galaxies: evolution - infrared: galaxies
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