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Evolution of the Interstellar Medium in Post-starburst Galaxies

Li, Zhihui and French, K. Decker and Zabludoff, Ann I. and Ho, Luis C. (2019) Evolution of the Interstellar Medium in Post-starburst Galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 879 (2). Art. No. 131. ISSN 1538-4357.

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We derive dust masses (M_(dust)) from the spectral energy distributions of 58 post-starburst galaxies (PSBs). There is an anticorrelation between specific dust mass (M_(dust)/M ) and the time elapsed since the starburst ended, indicating that dust was either destroyed, expelled, or rendered undetectable over the ~1 Gyr after the burst. The M_(dust)/M depletion timescale, 205^(+58)_(-37) Myr, is consistent with that of the CO-traced M_(H2)/M⋆, suggesting that dust and gas are altered via the same process. Extrapolating these trends leads to the M_(dust)/M and M_(H2)/M⋆ values of early-type galaxies (ETGs) within 1–2 Gyr, a timescale consistent with the evolution of other PSB properties into ETGs. Comparing M_(dust) and M_(H2) for PSBs yields a calibration, log M_(H2) = 0.45 log M_(dust) + 6.02, that allows us to place 33 PSBs on the Kennicutt–Schmidt (KS) plane, ΣSFR-ΣM_(H2). Over the first ~200–300 Myr, the PSBs evolve down and off of the KS relation, as their star formation rate (SFR) decreases more rapidly than M_(H2). Afterwards, M_(H2) continues to decline whereas the SFR levels off. These trends suggest that the star formation efficiency bottoms out at 10^(−11) yr^(−1) and will rise to ETG levels within 0.5–1.1 Gyr afterwards. The SFR decline after the burst is likely due to the absence of gas denser than the CO-traced H_2. The mechanism of the M_(dust)/M and M_(H2)/M⋆ decline, whose timescale suggests active galactic nucleus/low-ionization nuclear emission-line region feedback, may also be preventing the large CO-traced molecular gas reservoirs from collapsing and forming denser star-forming clouds.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Li, Zhihui0000-0001-5113-7558
French, K. Decker0000-0002-4235-7337
Zabludoff, Ann I.0000-0001-6047-8469
Ho, Luis C.0000-0001-6947-5846
Additional Information:© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 January 11; revised 2019 May 3; accepted 2019 May 3; published 2019 July 16. We are grateful to the anonymous referee for carefully reading our manuscript and providing constructive feedback, which substantially helped improving the quality of this paper. We thank Adam Smercina, Daniel A. Dale, and Dennis Zaritsky for constructive suggestions and helpful discussions. We also thank Yuguang Chen and Michael Zhang for help in installing the asurv package and debugging. Z.L. is grateful for support from the Study Abroad Scholarship for Excellent Students by China Scholarship Council for undergraduate research. K.D.F is supported by program HST-HF2-51391.001-A, provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. A.I.Z. acknowledges funding from NASA grant ADP-NNX10AE88G. L.C.H was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFA0400702) and the National Science Foundation of China (11721303). This work has made use of the data obtained by GALEX, SDSS, 2MASS, WISE, and Herschel. Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS website is SDSS-IV is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS Collaboration including the Brazilian Participation Group, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Mellon University, the Chilean Participation Group, the French Participation Group, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, The Johns Hopkins University, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU)/University of Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA Heidelberg), Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik (MPA Garching), Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), National Astronomical Observatories of China, New Mexico State University, New York University, University of Notre Dame, Observatário Nacional/MCTI, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, United Kingdom Participation Group, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of Arizona, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Oxford, University of Portsmouth, University of Utah, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. WISE is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The WISE website is Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
China Scholarship CouncilUNSPECIFIED
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51391.001-A
National Key Research and Development Program of China2016YFA0400702
National Natural Science Foundation of China11721303
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Participating InstitutionsUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution – galaxies: ISM – galaxies: starburst – infrared: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190716-113039644
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Zhihui Li et al 2019 ApJ 879 131
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97173
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Jul 2019 18:41
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 21:29

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