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Luminosity Function Constraints on the Evolution of Massive Red Galaxies since z ~ 0.9

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • R. J. Cool
  • Daniel J. Eisenstein
  • X. Fan
  • Masataka Fukugita
  • Linhua Jiang
  • C. Maraston
  • Avery Meiksin
  • Donald P. Schneider
  • D. A. Wake

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-936
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


We measure the evolution of the luminous red galaxy (LRG) luminosity function in the redshift range 0.1<z<0.9 using samples of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as well as new spectroscopy of high-redshift massive red galaxies. Our high-redshift sample of galaxies is largest spectroscopic sample of massive red galaxies at z~0.9 collected to date and covers 7 deg2, minimizing the impact of large-scale structure on our results. We find that the LRG population has evolved little beyond the passive fading of its stellar populations since z~0.9. Based on our luminosity function measurements and assuming a nonevolving Salpeter stellar initial mass function, we find that the most massive (L>3L*) red galaxies have grown by less than 50% (at 99% confidence), since z=0.9, in stark contrast to the factor of 2-4 growth observed in the L* red galaxy population over the same epoch. We also investigate the evolution of the average LRG spectrum since z~0.9 and find the high-redshift composite to be well described as a passively evolving example of the composite galaxy observed at low redshift. From spectral fits to the composite spectra, we find at most 5% of the stellar mass in massive red galaxies may have formed within 1 Gyr of z=0.9. While L* red galaxies are clearly assembled at z<1, 3L* galaxies appear to be largely in place and evolve little beyond the passive evolution of their stellar populations over the last half of cosmic history.

ID: 4177425