We present direct observational evidence for star formation quenching in galaxy groups in the redshift range 0 < z < 2.5. We utilize a large sample of nearly 6000 groups, selected by fixed cumulative number density from three photometric catalogs, to follow the evolving quiescent fractions of central and satellite galaxies over roughly 11 Gyr. At z 0, central galaxies in our sample range in stellar mass from Milky Way/M31 analogs (M /M = 6.5 × 1010) to nearby massive ellipticals (M /M = 1.5 × 1011). Satellite galaxies in the same groups reach masses as low as twice that of the Large Magellanic Cloud (M /M = 6.5 × 10 9). Using statistical background subtraction, we measure the average rest-frame colors of galaxies in our groups and calculate the evolving quiescent fractions of centrals and satellites over seven redshift bins. Our analysis shows clear evidence for star formation quenching in group halos, with a different quenching onset for centrals and their satellite galaxies. Using halo mass estimates for our central galaxies, we find that star formation shuts off in centrals when typical halo masses reach between 1012 and 10 13 M, consistent with predictions from the halo quenching model. In contrast, satellite galaxies in the same groups most likely undergo quenching by environmental processes, whose onset is delayed with respect to their central galaxy. Although star formation is suppressed in all galaxies over time, the processes that govern quenching are different for centrals and satellites. While mass plays an important role in determining the star formation activity of central galaxies, quenching in satellite galaxies is dominated by the environment in which they reside.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science