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Modelling the quenching of star formation activity from the evolution of the colour-magnitude relation in VIPERS

Manzoni, G. and Scodeggio, M. and Baugh, C.M. and Norberg, P. and De Lucia, G. and Fritz, A. and Haines, C.P. and Zamorani, G. and Gargiulo, A. and Guzzo, L. and Iovino, A. and Małek, K. and Pollo, A. and Siudek, M. and Vergani, D. (2021) 'Modelling the quenching of star formation activity from the evolution of the colour-magnitude relation in VIPERS.', New Astronomy, 84 . p. 101515.


We study the evolution of the colour-magnitude relation for galaxies in the VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS) by introducing the concept of the bright edge, and use this to derive constraints on the quenching of star formation activity in galaxies over the redshift range 0.5<z<1.1. The bright-edge of the colour-magnitude diagram evolves with little dependence on galaxy colour, and therefore on the amount of star formation taking place in bright galaxies. We modelled this evolution with delayed exponential star formation histories (SFHs), to better understand the time-scale of the turn-off in star formation activity. We show that using SFHs without quenching, the transition from the blue cloud to the red sequence is too slow. This indicates that a scenario purely driven by the consumption of the gas inside each galaxy does not reproduce the observed evolution of the colour-magnitude bright edge. Among the quenching scenarios explored, the one that best matches the observations assumes that galaxies stop their star formation at a randomly selected time with a uniform distribution up to 2.5 Gyr. We argue that quenching is required over a wide range of stellar masses. Qualitatively similar evolution of the bright edge is found in the predictions of a semi-analytical galaxy formation model, but quantitatively there are marked differences with the observations. This illustrates the utility of the bright edge as a test of galaxy formation models. The evolution changes and no longer matches the observed trend if feedback from heating by active galactic nuclei is turned off.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:01 October 2020
Date deposited:22 July 2021
Date of first online publication:02 October 2020
Date first made open access:02 October 2022

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