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Evolution of the cold gas properties of simulated post-starburst galaxies

Davis, TA, Van De Voort, F, Rowlands, K, McAlpine, S, Wild, V and Crain, RA (2019) Evolution of the cold gas properties of simulated post-starburst galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 484 (2). pp. 2447-2461. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

Post-starburst galaxies are typically considered to be a transition population, en route to the red sequence after a recent quenching event. Despite this, recent observations have shown that these objects typically have large reservoirs of cold molecular gas. In this paper we study the star-forming gas properties of a large sample of post-starburst galaxies selected from the cosmological, hydrodynamical EAGLE simulations. These objects resemble observed high-mass post-starburst galaxies both spectroscopically and in terms of their space density, stellar mass distribution, and sizes. We find that the vast majority of simulated post-starburst galaxies have significant gas reservoirs, with star-forming gas masses ≈10 9 M, in good agreement with those seen in observational samples. The simulation reproduces the observed time evolution of the gas fraction of the post-starburst galaxy population, with the average galaxy losing ≈90 per cent of its star-forming interstellar medium in only ≈600 Myr. A variety of gas consumption/loss processes are responsible for this rapid evolution, including mergers and environmental effects, while active galactic nuclei play only a secondary role. The fast evolution in the gas fraction of post-starburst galaxies is accompanied by a clear decrease in the efficiency of star formation due to a decrease in the dense gas fraction. We predict that forthcoming ALMA observations of the gas reservoirs of low-redshift post-starburst galaxies will show that the molecular gas is typically compact and has disturbed kinematics, reflecting the disruptive nature of many of the evolutionary pathways that build up the post-starburst galaxy population. © 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2019 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2019 07:28
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 07:35
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stz180
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10517

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