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Rapid Environmental Quenching of Satellite Dwarf Galaxies in the Local Group

Wetzel, Andrew R. and Tollerud, Erik J. and Weisz, Daniel R. (2015) Rapid Environmental Quenching of Satellite Dwarf Galaxies in the Local Group. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 808 (1). Art. No. L27. ISSN 2041-8205.

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In the Local Group, nearly all of the dwarf galaxies (M_(star) ≾ 10^9 M_⊙) that are satellites within 300 kpc (the virial radius) of the Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) have quiescent star formation and little-to-no cold gas. This contrasts strongly with comparatively isolated dwarf galaxies, which are almost all actively star-forming and gas-rich. This near dichotomy implies a rapid transformation of satellite dwarf galaxies after falling into the halos of the MW or M31. We combine the observed quiescent fractions for satellites of the MW and M31 with the infall times of satellites from the Exploring the Local Volume in Simulations (ELVIS) suite of cosmological zoom-in simulations to determine the typical timescales over which environmental processes within the MW/M31 halos remove gas and quench star formation in low-mass satellite galaxies. The quenching timescales for satellites with M_(star) < 10^8 M_⊙ are short, ≾2 Gyr, and quenching is more rapid at lower M_(star). These satellite quenching timescales can be 1–2 Gyr longer if one includes the time that satellites were environmentally preprocessed by low-mass groups prior to MW/M31 infall. We compare with quenching timescales for more massive satellites from previous works to synthesize the nature of satellite galaxy quenching across the observable range of M_(star)= 10^(3-11) M_⊙. The satellite quenching timescale increases rapidly with satellite M_(star), peaking at ≈9.5 Gyr for M_(star) ~ 10^9 M_⊙, and the timescale rapidly decreases at higher M_(star) to < 5 Gyr at M_(star) > 5 x 10^(9) M_⊙. Overall, galaxies with M_(star) ~ 10^9 M_⊙, similar to the Magellanic Clouds, exhibit the longest quenching timescales, regardless of environmental or internal mechanisms.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Wetzel, Andrew R.0000-0003-0603-8942
Tollerud, Erik J.0000-0002-9599-310X
Weisz, Daniel R.0000-0002-6442-6030
Additional Information:© 2015 American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 March 23; accepted 2015 July 6; published 2015 July 22. We thank the Aspen Center for Physics and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, both supported by the National Science Foundation, for stimulating environments. A.R.W. gratefully acknowledges support from the Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics at Caltech. Support for E.J.T. and D.R.W. is provided by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grants HST-HF-51316.01 and HST-HF-51331.01, respectively.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-51316.01
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-51331.01
Subject Keywords:galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: groups: general; galaxies: star formation; Local Group; methods: numerical
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150831-143309372
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Official Citation:Rapid Environmental Quenching of Satellite Dwarf Galaxies in the Local Group Andrew R. Wetzel et al. 2015 ApJ 808 L27
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:59995
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:31 Aug 2015 22:38
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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