The star formation activity in cosmic voids

Ricciardelli, E. ; Cava, A. ; Varela, J. ; Quilis, V.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2014, vol. 445, no. 4, p. 4045-4054

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    Using a sample of cosmic voids identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7, we study the star formation activity of void galaxies. The properties of galaxies living in voids are compared with those of galaxies living in the void shells and with a control sample, representing the general galaxy population. Void galaxies appear to form stars more efficiently than shell galaxies and the control sample. This result cannot be interpreted as a consequence of the bias towards low masses in underdense regions, as void galaxy subsamples with the same mass distribution as the control sample also show statistically different specific star formation rates. This highlights the fact that galaxy evolution in voids is slower with respect to the evolution of the general population. Nevertheless, when only the star-forming galaxies are considered, we find that the star formation rate is insensitive to the environment, as the main sequence is remarkably constant in the three samples under consideration. This fact implies that environmental effects manifest themselves as fast quenching mechanisms, while leaving the non-quenched galaxies almost unaffected, as their star formation activity is largely regulated by the mass of their halo. We also analyse galaxy properties as a function of void-centric distance and find that the enhancement in the star formation activity with respect to the control sample is observable up to a radial distance 1.5Rvoid. This result can be used as a suitable definition of void shells. Finally, we find that larger voids show an enhanced star formation activity in the shells with respect to their smaller counterparts, which could be related to the different dynamical evolution experienced by voids of different sizes