Galactic conformity and central/satellite quenching, from the satellite profiles of M* galaxies at 0.4 < z < 1.9 in the UKIDSS UDS

Hartley, W. G. ; Conselice, C. J. ; Mortlock, A. ; Foucaud, S. ; Simpson, C.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, vol. 451, no. 2, p. 1613-1636

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    We explore the redshift evolution of a curious correlation between the star formation properties of central galaxies and their satellites (‘galactic conformity') at intermediate to high redshift (0.4 < z < 1.9). Using an extremely deep near-infrared survey, we study the distribution and properties of satellite galaxies with stellar masses, log(M*/M⊙) > 9.7, around central galaxies at the characteristic Schechter function mass, M ∼ M*. We fit the radial profiles of satellite number densities with simple power laws, finding slopes in the range −1.1 to −1.4 for mass-selected satellites, and −1.3 to −1.6 for passive satellites. We confirm the tendency for passive satellites to be preferentially located around passive central galaxies at 3σ significance and show that it exists to at least z ∼ 2. Meanwhile, the quenched fraction of satellites around star-forming galaxies is consistent with field galaxies of equal stellar masses. We find no convincing evidence for a redshift-dependent evolution of these trends. One simple interpretation of these results is that only passive central galaxies occupy an environment that is capable of independently shutting off star formation in satellite galaxies. By examining the satellites of higher stellar mass star-forming galaxies (log(M*/M⊙) > 11), we conclude that the origin of galactic conformity is unlikely to be exclusively due to the host dark matter halo mass. A halo-mass-independent correlation could be established by either formation bias or a more physical connection between central and satellite star formation histories. For the latter, we argue that a star formation (or active galactic nucleus) related outburst event from the central galaxy could establish a hot halo environment which is then capable of quenching both central and satellite galaxies