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The VANDELS survey: the star-formation histories of massive quiescent galaxies at 1.0 <z <1.3

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • V. Wild
  • B. D. Johnson
  • S. Appleby
  • R. Amorin
  • M. Bolzonella
  • M. Castellano
  • A. Cimatti
  • O. Cucciati
  • A. Gargiulo
  • B. Garilli
  • F. Marchi
  • L. Pentericci
  • L. Pozzetti
  • C. Schreiber
  • M. Talia
  • G. Zamorani

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-439
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date12 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


We present a Bayesian full-spectral-fitting analysis of 75 massive (⁠M∗>1010.3M⊙⁠) UVJ-selected galaxies at redshifts of 1.0 < z < 1.3, combining extremely deep rest-frame ultraviolet spectroscopy from VANDELS with multiwavelength photometry. By the use of a sophisticated physical plus systematic uncertainties model, constructed within the bagpipes code, we place strong constraints on the star-formation histories (SFHs) of individual objects. We first constrain the stellar mass versus stellar age relationship, finding a steep trend towards earlier average formation time with increasing stellar mass (downsizing) of 1.48+0.34−0.39 Gyr per decade in mass, although this shows signs of flattening at M∗>1011M⊙⁠. We show that this is consistent with other spectroscopic studies from 0 < z < 2. This relationship places strong constraints on the AGN-feedback models used in cosmological simulations. We demonstrate that, although the relationships predicted by simba and illustristng agree well with observations at z = 0.1, they are too shallow at z = 1, predicting an evolution of ≲0.5 Gyr per decade in mass. Secondly, we consider the connections between green-valley, post-starburst, and quiescent galaxies, using our inferred SFH shapes and the distributions of galaxy physical properties on the UVJ diagram. The majority of our lowest-mass galaxies (⁠M∗∼1010.5M⊙⁠) are consistent with formation in recent (z < 2), intense starburst events, with time-scales of ≲500 Myr. A second class of objects experience extended star-formation epochs before rapidly quenching, passing through both green-valley and post-starburst phases. The most massive galaxies in our sample are extreme systems: already old by z = 1, they formed at z ∼ 5 and quenched by z = 3. However, we find evidence for their continued evolution through both AGN and rejuvenated star-formation activity.

    Research areas

  • astro-ph.GA, astro-ph.IM

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