The K-Band Luminosity Function in Galaxy Clusters to z

Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
The Astronomical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.02). 12/2007; 118(2):719. DOI: 10.1086/300978
Source: arXiv


We present K-band luminosity functions for galaxies in a heterogeneous sample of 38 clusters at 0.1 < z < 1. Using infrared-selected galaxy samples, which generally reach 2 mag fainter than the characteristic galaxy luminosity L*, we fitted Schechter functions to background-corrected cluster galaxy counts to determine K* as a function of redshift. Because of the magnitude limit of our data, the faint-end slope α is fixed at -0.9 in the fitting process. We find that K*(z) departs from no-evolution predictions at z > 0.4 and is consistent with the behavior of a simple, passive luminosity evolution model in whichgalaxies form all their stars in a single burst at zf = 2(3) in an H0 = 65 km s-1 Mpc-1, ΩM = 0.3, ΩΛ = 0.7(0) universe. This differs from the flat or negative infrared luminosity evolution, which has been reported for high-redshift field galaxy samples. We find that the observed evolution appears to be insensitive to cluster X-ray luminosity or optical richness, implying little variation in the evolutionary history of galaxies over the range of environmental densities spanned by our cluster sample. These results support and extend previous analyses based on the color evolution of high-redshift cluster E/S0 galaxies, indicating not only that their stellar populations formed at high-redshift, but that the assembly of the galaxies themselves was largely complete by z ≈ 1 and that subsequent evolution down to the present epoch was primarily passive.

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