Massive Quenched Galaxies at z ∼ 0.7 Retain Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs

Katherine A. Suess, Rachel Bezanson, Justin S. Spilker, Mariska Kriek, Jenny E. Greene, Robert Feldmann, Qiana Hunt, Desika Narayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

The physical mechanisms that quench star formation, turning blue star-forming galaxies into red quiescent galaxies, remain unclear. In this Letter, we investigate the role of gas supply in suppressing star formation by studying the molecular gas content of post-starburst galaxies. Leveraging the wide area of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we identify a sample of massive intermediate-redshift galaxies that have just ended their primary epoch of star formation. We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array CO(2-1) observations of two of these post-starburst galaxies at z ∼ 0.7 with . Their molecular gas reservoirs of and are an order of magnitude larger than comparable-mass galaxies in the local universe. Our observations suggest that quenching does not require the total removal or depletion of molecular gas, as many quenching models suggest. However, further observations are required both to determine if these apparently quiescent objects host highly obscured star formation and to investigate the intrinsic variation in the molecular gas properties of post-starburst galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL14
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume846
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation

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    Suess, K. A., Bezanson, R., Spilker, J. S., Kriek, M., Greene, J. E., Feldmann, R., Hunt, Q., & Narayanan, D. (2017). Massive Quenched Galaxies at z ∼ 0.7 Retain Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 846(2), [L14]. https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aa85dc