The SDSS-GALEX viewpoint of the truncated red sequence in field environments at z~0

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.52). 07/2007; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.12954.x
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We combine GALEX near-UV photometry with a volume-limited sample of local (0.005<z<0.037) SDSS DR4 galaxies to examine the composition and the environmental dependencies of the optical and UV-optical colour-magnitude (C-M) diagrams. We find that ~30% of red sequence galaxies in the optical C-M diagram show signs of ongoing star-formation from their spectra having EW(Halpha)>2A. This contamination is greatest at faint magnitudes (Mr>-19) and in field regions where as many as three-quarters of red sequence galaxies are star-forming, and as such has important consequences for following the build-up of the red sequence. We find that the NUV-r colour instead allows a much more robust separation of passively-evolving and star-forming galaxies, which allows the build-up of the UV-selected red sequence with redshift and environment to be directly interpreted in terms of the assembly of stellar mass in passively-evolving galaxies. We find that in isolated field regions the number density of UV-optical red sequence galaxies declines rapidly at magnitudes fainter than Mr~-19 and appears completely truncated at Mr~-18. This confirms the findings of Haines et al. (2007) that no passively-evolving dwarf galaxies are found more than two virial radii from a massive halo, whether that be a group, cluster or massive galaxy. These results support the downsizing paradigm whereby the red sequence is assembled from the top down, being already largely in place at the bright end by z~1, and the faint end filled in at later epochs in clusters and groups through environment-related processes such as ram-pressure stripping or galaxy harassment. Comment: 12 pages, 7 figures, MNRAS submitted

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