Halo histories versus Galaxy properties at z = 0-I. The quenching of star formation
- Author(s): Tinker, JL;
- Wetzel, AR;
- Conroy, C;
- Mao, YY
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://arxiv.org/abs/1609.03388
We test whether halo age and galaxy age are correlated at fixed halo and galaxy mass. The formation histories, and thus ages, of darkmatter haloes correlate with their large-scale density ρ, an effect known as assembly bias. We test whether this correlation extends to galaxies by measuring the dependence of galaxy stellar age on ρ. To clarify the comparison between theory and observation, and to remove the strong environmental effects on satellites, we use galaxy group catalogues to identify central galaxies and measure their quenched fraction, fQ, as a function of large-scale environment. Models that match halo age to central galaxy age predict a strong positive correlation between fQ and ρ. However, we show that the amplitude of this effect depends on the definition of halo age: assembly bias is significantly reduced when removing the effects of splashback haloes - those haloes that are central but have passed through a larger halo or experienced strong tidal encounters. Defining age using halo mass at its peak value rather than current mass removes these effects. In Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, at M* ≳ 1010 M⊙ h-2, there is a ~5 per cent increase in fQ from low-to-high densities, which is in agreement with predictions of dark matter haloes using peak halo mass. At lower stellar mass there is little to no correlation of fQ with ρ. For these galaxies, age matching is inconsistent with the data across the range of halo formation metrics that we tested. This implies that halo formation history has a small but statistically significant impact on quenching of star formation at high masses, while the quenching process in low-mass central galaxies is uncorrelated with halo formation history.