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    Post-starburst galaxies (PSBs) are defined as having experienced a recent burst of star formation, followed by a prompt truncation in further activity. Identifying the mechanism(s) causing a galaxy to experience a post-starburst phase therefore provides integral insight into the causes of rapid quenching. Galaxy mergers have long been proposed as a possible post-starburst trigger. Effectively testing this hypothesis requires a large spectroscopic galaxy survey to identify the rare PSBs as well as high-quality imaging and robust morphology metrics to identify mergers. We bring together these critical elements by selecting PSBs from the overlap of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Canada–France Imaging Survey and applying a suite of classification methods: non-parametric morphology metrics such as asymmetry and Gini-M20, a convolutional neural network trained to identify post-merger galaxies, and visual classification. This work is therefore the largest and most comprehensive assessment of the merger fraction of PSBs to date. We find that the merger fraction of PSBs ranges from 19 per cent to 42 per cent depending on the merger identification method and details of the PSB sample selection. These merger fractions represent an excess of 3–46× relative to non-PSB control samples. Our results demonstrate that mergers play a significant role in generatingmore »PSBs, but that other mechanisms are also required. However, applying our merger identification metrics to known post-mergers in the IllustrisTNG simulation shows that 70 per cent of recent post-mergers (≲200 Myr) would not be detected. Thus, we cannot exclude the possibility that nearly all PSBs have undergone a merger in their recent past.

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    We use the simba cosmological galaxy formation simulation to investigate the relationship between major mergers ($\lesssim$4:1), starbursts, and galaxy quenching. Mergers are identified via sudden jumps in stellar mass M* well above that expected from in situ star formation, while quenching is defined as going from specific star formation rate (sSFR) $\gt t_{\rm H}^{-1}$ to $\lt 0.2t_{\rm H}^{-1}$, where tH is the Hubble time. At z ≈ 0–3, mergers show ∼2–3× higher SFR than a mass-matched sample of star-forming galaxies, but globally represent $\lesssim 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the cosmic SF budget. At low masses, the increase in SFR in mergers is mostly attributed to an increase in the H2 content, but for $M_*\gtrsim 10^{10.5} \,\mathrm{ M}_{\odot }$ mergers also show an elevated star formation efficiency suggesting denser gas within merging galaxies. The merger rate for star-forming galaxies shows a rapid increase with redshift, ∝(1 + z)3.5, but the quenching rate evolves much more slowly, ∝(1 + z)0.9; there are insufficient mergers to explain the quenching rate at $z\lesssim 1.5$. simba first quenches galaxies at $z\gtrsim 3$, with a number density in good agreement with observations. The quenching time-scales τq are strongly bimodal, with ‘slow’ quenchings (τq ∼ 0.1tH) dominating overall,more »but ‘fast’ quenchings (τq ∼ 0.01tH) dominating in M* ∼ 1010–1010.5 M$\odot$ galaxies, likely induced by simba’s jet-mode black hole feedback. The delay time distribution between mergers and quenching events suggests no physical connection to either fast or slow quenching. Hence, simba predicts that major mergers induce starbursts, but are unrelated to quenching in either fast or slow mode.

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  3. Abstract This paper documents the seventeenth data release (DR17) from the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys; the fifth and final release from the fourth phase (SDSS-IV). DR17 contains the complete release of the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey, which reached its goal of surveying over 10,000 nearby galaxies. The complete release of the MaNGA Stellar Library accompanies this data, providing observations of almost 30,000 stars through the MaNGA instrument during bright time. DR17 also contains the complete release of the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment 2 survey that publicly releases infrared spectra of over 650,000 stars. The main sample from the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), as well as the subsurvey Time Domain Spectroscopic Survey data were fully released in DR16. New single-fiber optical spectroscopy released in DR17 is from the SPectroscipic IDentification of ERosita Survey subsurvey and the eBOSS-RM program. Along with the primary data sets, DR17 includes 25 new or updated value-added catalogs. This paper concludes the release of SDSS-IV survey data. SDSS continues into its fifth phase with observations already underway for the Milky Way Mapper, Local Volume Mapper, and Black Hole Mapper surveys.