Assembly bias evidence in close galaxy pairs

Ferreras, I, Hopkins, A M, Lagos, C, Sansom, Anne E orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2782-7388, Scott, N, Croom, S and Brough, S (2019) Assembly bias evidence in close galaxy pairs. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 487 (1). pp. 435-443. ISSN 0035-8711

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The growth channel of massive galaxies involving mergers can be studied via close pairs as putative merger progenitors, where the stellar populations of the satellite galaxies will be eventually incorporated into the massive primaries. We extend our recent analysis of the GAMA-based sample of close pairs presented in Ferreras et al. to the general spectroscopic dataset of SDSS galaxies (DR14), for which the high S/N of the data enables a detailed analysis of the differences between satellite galaxies with respect to the mass of the primary galaxy. A sample of approximately two thousand satellites of massive galaxies is carefully selected within a relatively narrow redshift range (0.07<z<0.14). Two main parameters are considered as major drivers of the star formation history of these galaxies, namely: the stellar velocity dispersion of the satellite (σ), as a proxy of “local” drivers, and the ratio between the stellar mass of the satellite and the primary, μ = MSAT/MPRI, meant to serve as an indicator of environment. Consistently with the independent, GAMA-based work, we find that satellites around the most massive primaries appear older, at fixed velocity dispersion, than satellites of lower mass primaries. This trend is more marked in lower mass satellites (σ∼100 km s−1), with SSP-equivalent age differences up to ∼0.5 Gyr, and can be interpreted as a one-halo assembly bias, so that satellites corresponding to smaller values of μ represent older structures, akin to fossil groups.

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