The evolution of dusty star formation in galaxy clusters to z = 1: Spitzer infrared observations of the first red-sequence cluster survey

T. M. A. Webb, D. O'Donnell, H. K. C. Yee, D. Gilbank, Kristen Coppin, E. Ellingson, A. Faloon, J.E. Geach, M. Gladders, A. Noble, A. Muzzin, G. Wilson, R. Yan

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We present the results of an infrared (IR) study of high-redshift galaxy clusters with the MIPS camera on board the Spitzer Space Telescope. We have assembled a sample of 42 clusters from the Red-Sequence Cluster Survey-1 over the redshift range 0.3 <z <1.0 and spanning an approximate range in mass of 10 M. We statistically measure the number of IR-luminous galaxies in clusters above a fixed inferred IR luminosity of 2 × 10 M, assuming a star forming galaxy template, per unit cluster mass and find it increases to higher redshift. Fitting a simple power-law we measure evolution of (1 + z) over the range 0.3 <z <1.0. These results are tied to the adoption of a single star forming galaxy template; the presence of active galactic nuclei, and an evolution in their relative contribution to the mid-IR galaxy emission, will alter the overall number counts per cluster and their rate of evolution. Under the star formation assumption we infer the approximate total star formation rate per unit cluster mass (ΣSFR/ M cluster). The evolution is similar, with ΣSFR/ M cluster ∼ (1 + z). We show that this can be accounted for by the evolution of the IR-bright field population over the same redshift range; that is, the evolution can be attributed entirely to the change in the in-falling field galaxy population. We show that the ΣSFR/ Mcluster (binned over all redshift) decreases with increasing cluster mass with a slope (ΣSFR/) consistent with the dependence of the stellar-to-total mass per unit cluster mass seen locally. The inferred star formation seen here could produce ∼5%-10% of the total stellar mass in massive clusters at z = 0, but we cannot constrain the descendant population, nor how rapidly the star-formation must shut-down once the galaxies have entered the cluster environment. Finally, we show a clear decrease in the number of IR-bright galaxies per unit optical galaxy in the cluster cores, confirming star formation continues to avoid the highest density regions of the universe at z ∼ 0.75 (the average redshift of the high-redshift clusters). While several previous studies appear to show enhanced star formation in high-redshift clusters relative to the field we note that these papers have not accounted for the overall increase in galaxy or dark matter density at the location of clusters. Once this is done, clusters at z ∼ 0.75 have the same or less star formation per unit mass or galaxy as the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number84
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


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