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  1. Abstract

    Isolated dwarf galaxies usually exhibit robust star formation but satellite dwarf galaxies are often devoid of young stars, even in Milky Way–mass groups. Dwarf galaxies thus offer an important laboratory of the environmental processes that cease star formation. We explore the balance of quiescent and star-forming galaxies (quenched fractions) for a sample of ∼400 satellite galaxies around 30 Local Volume hosts from the Exploration of Local VolumE Satellites (ELVES) Survey. We present quenched fractions as a function of satellite stellar mass, projected radius, and host halo mass, to conclude that overall, the quenched fractions are similar to the Milky Way, dropping below 50% at satelliteM*≈ 108M. We may see hints that quenching is less efficient at larger radii. Through comparison with the semianalytic modeling codeSatGen, we are also able to infer average quenching times as a function of satellite mass in host halo-mass bins. There is a gradual increase in quenching time with satellite stellar mass rather than the abrupt change from rapid to slow quenching that has been inferred for the Milky Way. We also generally infer longer average quenching times than recent hydrodynamical simulations. Our results are consistent with models that suggest a wide range of quenchingmore »times are possible via ram pressure stripping, depending on the clumpiness of the circumgalactic medium, the orbits of the satellites, and the degree of earlier preprocessing.

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  2. Abstract

    We present visual classifications of merger-induced tidal disturbances in 143M*∼ 1011Mpost-starburst galaxies atz∼ 0.7 identified in theSQuIGGLESample. This sample spectroscopically selects galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that have stopped their primary epoch of star formation within the past ∼500 Myr. Visual classifications are performed on Hyper Suprime-Cam imaging. We compare to a control sample of mass- and redshift-matched star-forming and quiescent galaxies from the Large Early Galaxy Census and find that post-starburst galaxies are more likely to be classified as disturbed than either category. This corresponds to a factor of3.61.3+2.9times the disturbance rate of older quiescent galaxies and2.1.73+1.9times the disturbance rate of star-forming galaxies. Assuming tidal features persist for ≲500 Myr, this suggests merging is coincident with quenching in a significant fraction of these post-starbursts. Galaxies with tidal disturbances are younger on average than undisturbed post-starburst galaxies in our sample, suggesting tidal features from a major merger may have faded over time. This may be exacerbated by the fact that, on average, the undisturbed subset is fainter, rendering low-surface-brightness tidal features harder to identify. However, the presence of 10 young (≲150 Myr since quenching) undisturbed galaxiesmore »suggests that major mergers are not the only fast physical mechanism that shut down the primary epoch of star formation in massive galaxies at intermediate redshift.

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  3. Abstract

    Ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) are both extreme products of galaxy evolution and extreme environments in which to test our understanding of star formation. In this work, we contrast the spatially resolved star formation activity of a sample of 22 Hi-selected UDGs and 35 low-mass galaxies from the NASA Sloan Atlas (NSA) catalog within 120 Mpc. We employ a new joint spectral energy distribution fitting method to compute star formation rate and stellar mass surface density maps that leverage the high spatial resolution optical imaging data of the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program and the UV coverage of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, along with Hiradial profiles estimated from a subset of galaxies that have spatially resolved Himaps. We find that UDGs have low star formation efficiencies as a function of their atomic gas down to scales of 500 pc. We additionally find that the stellar mass-weighted sizes of our UDG sample are unremarkable when considered as a function of their Himass—their stellar sizes are comparable to NSA dwarfs at fixed Himass. This is a natural result in the picture where UDGs are forming stars normally, but at low efficiencies. We compare our results to predictions from contemporary models of galaxy formation,more »and find in particular that our observations are difficult to reproduce in models where UDGs undergo stellar expansion due to vigorous star formation feedback should bursty star formation be required down toz= 0.

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  4. ABSTRACT Owing to their quiet evolutionary histories, nearby dwarf galaxies (stellar masses $M_\star \lesssim 3 \times 10^9 \, \mathrm{M}_\odot$) have the potential to teach us about the mechanism(s) that ‘seeded’ the growth of supermassive black holes, and also how the first stellar mass black holes formed and interacted with their environments. Here, we present high spatial resolution observations of three dwarf galaxies in the X-ray (Chandra), the optical/near-infrared (Hubble Space Telescope), and the radio (Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array). These three galaxies were previously identified as hosting candidate active galactic nuclei on the basis of lower resolution X-ray imaging. With our new observations, we find that X-ray sources in two galaxies (SDSS J121326.01+543631.6 and SDSS J122111.29+173819.1) are off-nuclear and lack corresponding radio emission, implying they are likely luminous X-ray binaries. The third galaxy (Mrk 1434) contains two X-ray sources (each with LX ≈ 1040 erg s−1) separated by 2.8 arcsec, has a low metallicity [12 + log(O/H)  = 7.8], and emits nebular He ii λ4686 line emission. The northern source has spatially coincident point-like radio emission at 9.0 GHz and extended radio emission at 5.5 GHz. We discuss X-ray binary interpretations (where an ultraluminous X-ray source blows a ‘radio bubble’) and active galactic nucleus interpretationsmore »(where an $\approx 4\times 10^5 \, \mathrm{M}_\odot$ black hole launches a jet). In either case, we find that the He ii emission cannot be photoionized by the X-ray source, unless the source was ≈30–90 times more luminous several hundred years ago.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 17, 2024
  5. Abstract

    High-accuracy black hole (BH) masses require excellent spatial resolution that is only achievable for galaxies within ∼100 Mpc using present-day technology. At larger distances, BH masses are often estimated with single-epoch scaling relations for active galactic nuclei. This method requires only luminosity and the velocity dispersion of the broad-line region (BLR) to calculate a virial product, and an additional virial factor,f, to determine the BH mass. The accuracy of these single-epoch masses, however, is unknown, and there are few empirical constraints on the variance offbetween objects. We attempt to calibrate single-epoch BH masses using spectropolarimetric measurements of nine megamaser galaxies from which we measure the velocity distribution of the BLR. We do not find strong evidence for a correlation between the virial products used for single-epoch masses and dynamical mass, either for the megamaser sample alone or when it is combined with dynamical masses from reverberation mapping modeling. Furthermore, we find evidence that the virial parameterfvaries between objects, but we do not find strong evidence for a correlation with other observable parameters such as luminosity or broad-line width. Although we cannot definitively rule out the existence of any correlation between dynamical mass and virial product, we find tension betweenmore »the allowedf-values for masers and those widely used in the literature. We conclude that the single-epoch method requires further investigation if it is to be used successfully to infer BH masses.

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  6. Abstract Accurate models of the star formation histories (SFHs) of recently quenched galaxies can provide constraints on when and how galaxies shut down their star formation. The recent development of nonparametric SFH models promises the flexibility required to make these measurements. However, model and prior choices significantly affect derived SFHs, particularly for post-starburst galaxies (PSBs), which have sharp changes in their recent SFH. In this paper, we create mock PSBs, then use the Prospector SED fitting software to test how well four different SFH models recover key properties. We find that a two-component parametric model performs well for our simple mock galaxies, but is sensitive to model mismatches. The fixed- and flexible-bin nonparametric models included in Prospector are able to rapidly quench a major burst of star formation, but systematically underestimate the post-burst age by up to 200 Myr. We develop a custom SFH model that allows for additional flexibility in the recent SFH. Our flexible nonparametric model is able to constrain post-burst ages with no significant offset and just ∼90 Myr of scatter. Our results suggest that while standard nonparametric models are able to recover first-order quantities of the SFH (mass, SFR, average age), accurately recovering higher-order quantities (burstmore »fraction, quenching time) requires careful consideration of model flexibility. These mock recovery tests are a critical part of future SFH studies. Finally, we show that our new, public SFH model is able to accurately recover the properties of mock star-forming and quiescent galaxies and is suitable for broader use in the SED fitting community.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023

    We present new 5 GHz Very Large Array observations of a sample of eight active intermediate-mass black holes with masses 104.9 M⊙ < M < 106.1 M⊙ found in galaxies with stellar masses M* < 3 × 109 M⊙. We detected five of the eight sources at high significance. Of the detections, four were consistent with a point source, and one (SDSS J095418.15+471725.1, with black hole mass M < 105 M⊙) clearly shows extended emission that has a jet morphology. Combining our new radio data with the black hole masses and literature X-ray measurements, we put the sources on the Fundamental Plane of black hole accretion. We find that the extent to which the sources agree with the Fundamental Plane depends on their star-forming/composite/active galactic nucleus (AGN) classification based on optical narrow emission-line ratios. The single star-forming source is inconsistent with the Fundamental Plane. The three composite sources are consistent, and three of the four AGN sources are inconsistent with the Fundamental Plane. We argue that this inconsistency is genuine and not a result of misattributing star formation to black hole activity. Instead, we identify the sources in our sample that have AGN-like optical emission-line ratios as not following the Fundamental Plane and thus cautionmore »the use of the Fundamental Plane to estimate masses without additional constraints, such as radio spectral index, radiative efficiency, or the Eddington fraction.

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  8. ABSTRACT Recent systematic searches for massive black holes (BHs) in local dwarf galaxies led to the discovery of a population of faint active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We investigate the agreement of the BH and AGN populations in the Illustris, TNG, Horizon-AGN, EAGLE, and SIMBA simulations with current observational constraints in low-mass galaxies. We find that some of these simulations produce BHs that are too massive, and that the BH occupation fraction (OF) at z = 0 is not inherited from the simulation seeding modelling. The ability of BHs and their host galaxies to power an AGN depends on BH and galaxy subgrid modelling. The fraction of AGN in low-mass galaxies is not used to calibrate the simulations, and thus can be used to differentiate galaxy formation models. AGN fractions at z = 0 span two orders of magnitude at fixed galaxy stellar mass in simulations, similarly to observational constraints, but uncertainties and degeneracies affect both observations and simulations. The agreement is difficult to interpret due to differences in the masses of simulated and observed BHs, BH OF affected by numerical choices, and an unknown fraction of obscured AGN. Our work advocates for more thorough comparisons with observations to improve the modelling ofmore »cosmological simulations, and our understanding of BH and galaxy physics in the low-mass regime. The mass of BHs, their ability to efficiently accrete gas, and the AGN fraction in low-mass galaxies have important implications for the build-up of the entire BH and galaxy populations with time.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 6, 2023
  9. Abstract

    Observations and simulations have demonstrated that star formation in galaxies must be actively suppressed to prevent the formation of overly massive galaxies. Galactic outflows driven by stellar feedback or supermassive black hole accretion are often invoked to regulate the amount of cold molecular gas available for future star formation but may not be the only relevant quenching processes in all galaxies. We present the discovery of vast molecular tidal features extending up to 64 kpc outside of a massivez= 0.646 post-starburst galaxy that recently concluded its primary star-forming episode. The tidal tails contain (1.2 ± 0.1) × 1010Mof molecular gas, 47% ± 5% of the total cold gas reservoir of the system. Both the scale and magnitude of the molecular tidal features are unprecedented compared to all known nearby or high-redshift merging systems. We infer that the cold gas was stripped from the host galaxies during the merger, which is most likely responsible for triggering the initial burst phase and the subsequent suppression of star formation. While only a single example, this result shows that galaxy mergers can regulate the cold gas contents in distant galaxies by directly removing a large fraction of the molecular gas fuel, and plausiblymore »suppress star formation directly, a qualitatively different physical mechanism than feedback-driven outflows.

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  10. Abstract We present structural measurements of 145 spectroscopically selected intermediate-redshift ( z ∼ 0.7), massive ( M ⋆ ∼ 10 11 M ⊙ ) post-starburst galaxies from the SQuIGG L ⃗ E sample measured using wide-depth Hyper Suprime-Cam i -band imaging. This deep imaging allows us to probe the sizes and structures of these galaxies, which we compare to a control sample of star-forming and quiescent galaxies drawn from the LEGA-C Survey. We find that post-starburst galaxies systematically lie ∼0.1 dex below the quiescent mass–size (half-light radius) relation, with a scatter of ∼0.2 dex. This finding is bolstered by nonparametric measures, such as the Gini coefficient and the concentration, which also reveal these galaxies to have more compact light profiles than both quiescent and star-forming populations at similar mass and redshift. The sizes of post-starburst galaxies show either negative or no correlation with the time since quenching, such that more recently quenched galaxies are larger or similarly sized. This empirical finding disfavors the formation of post-starburst galaxies via a purely central burst of star formation that simultaneously shrinks the galaxy and shuts off star formation. We show that the central densities of post-starburst and quiescent galaxies at this epoch aremore »very similar, in contrast with their effective radii. The structural properties of z ∼ 0.7 post-starburst galaxies match those of quiescent galaxies that formed in the early universe, suggesting that rapid quenching in the present epoch is driven by a similar mechanism to the one at high redshift.« less