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The colours of satellite galaxies in groups and clusters

Font, A. S. and Bower, R. G. and McCarthy, I. G. and Benson, A. J. and Frenk, C. S. and Helly, J. C. and Lacey, C. G. and Baugh, C. M. and Cole, S. (2008) The colours of satellite galaxies in groups and clusters. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 389 (4). pp. 1619-1629. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13698.x.

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Current models of galaxy formation predict satellite galaxies in groups and clusters that are redder than observed. We investigate the effect on the colours of satellite galaxies produced by the ram-pressure stripping of their hot-gaseous atmospheres as the satellites orbit within their parent halo. We incorporate a model of the stripping process based on detailed hydrodynamic simulations within the Durham semi-analytic model of galaxy formation. The simulations show that the environment in groups and clusters is less aggressive than previously assumed. The main uncertainty in the model is the treatment of gas expelled by supernovae. With reasonable assumptions for the stripping of this material, we find that satellite galaxies are able to retain a significant fraction of their hot gas for several Gyr, thereby replenishing their reservoirs of cold, star-forming gas and remaining blue for a relatively long period of time. A bimodal distribution of galaxy colours, similar to that observed in Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, is established and the colours of the satellite galaxies are in good agreement with the data. In addition, our model naturally accounts for the observed dependence of satellite colours on environment, from small groups to high-mass clusters.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bower, R. G.0000-0002-5215-6010
Benson, A. J.0000-0001-5501-6008
Frenk, C. S.0000-0002-2338-716X
Helly, J. C.0000-0002-0647-4755
Lacey, C. G.0000-0001-9016-5332
Baugh, C. M.0000-0002-9935-9755
Additional Information:© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 RAS. Accepted 2008 July 8. Received 2008 June 7; in original form 2008 March 19. We thank Simone Weinmann for providing us the SDSS blue fraction data in electronic format. We are grateful to Simon White for a careful reading of the manuscript and for useful suggestions. We also acknowledge Michael Balogh, Michael Brown and David Wake for useful discussions. ASF is supported by a STFC Fellowship at the Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durham. RGB acknowledges the support of a STFC senior fellowship. IGM acknowledges support from a postdoctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. AJB acknowledges the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This work was supported in part by a STFC rolling grant to Durham University.
Group:Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: clusters: general • galaxies: evolution • galaxies: fundamental parameters • galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:FONmnras08
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A. S. Font, R. G. Bower, I. G. McCarthy, A. J. Benson, C. S. Frenk, J. C. Helly, C. G. Lacey, C. M. Baugh, and S. Cole The colours of satellite galaxies in groups and clusters MNRAS (2008) Vol. 389 1619-1629 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13698.x First published online October 1, 2008
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12742
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:22 Dec 2008 18:24
Last Modified:30 Aug 2021 18:07

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