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Cold gas stripping in satellite galaxies: from pairs to clusters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Toby Brown
  • Barbara Catinella
  • Luca Cortese
  • Claudia del P. Lagos
  • Romeel Davé
  • Virginia Kilborn
  • Martha P. Haynes
  • Riccardo Giovanelli
  • Mika Rafieferantsoa

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1289
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2017


In this paper, we investigate environment-driven gas depletion in satellite galaxies, taking full advantage of the atomic hydrogen (H I) spectral stacking technique to quantify the gas content for the entire gas-poor to -rich regimes. We do so using a multiwavelength sample of 10 600 satellite galaxies, selected according to stellar mass (log M⋆/M⊙ ≥ 9) and redshift (0.02 ≤ z ≤ 0.05) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, with H I data from the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA survey. Using key H I-to-stellar mass scaling relations, we present evidence that the gas content of satellite galaxies is, to a significant extent, dependent on the environment in which a galaxy resides. For the first time, we demonstrate that systematic environmental suppression of gas content at both fixed stellar mass and fixed specific star formation rate in satellite galaxies begins in halo masses typical of the group regime (log Mh/M⊙ <13.5), well before galaxies reach the cluster environment. We also show that environment-driven gas depletion is more closely associated with halo mass than local density. Our results are then compared with state-of-the-art semi-analytic models and hydrodynamical simulations and discussed within this framework, showing that more work is needed if models are to reproduce the observations. We conclude that the observed decrease of gas content in the group and cluster environments cannot be reproduced by starvation of the gas supply alone and invoke fast acting processes such as ram-pressure stripping of cold gas to explain this.

    Research areas

  • galaxies: evolution, galaxies: fundamental parameters, galaxies: ISM, galaxies: photometry, radio lines: galaxies

ID: 57683597