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Title: Star-Forming Brightest Cluster Galaxies at 0.25 < z < 1.25: A Transitioning Fuel Supply

We present a multi-wavelength study of 90 brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) in a sample of galaxy clusters selected via the Sunyaev Zel'dovich effect by the South Pole Telescope, utilizing data from various ground- and space-based facilities. We infer the star formation rate (SFR) for the BCG in each cluster, based on the UV and IR continuum luminosity, as well as the [O II] emission line luminosity in cases where spectroscopy is available, finding 7 systems with SFR > 100 Msun/yr. We find that the BCG SFR exceeds 10 Msun/yr in 31 of 90 (34%) cases at 0.25 < z < 1.25, compared to ~1-5% at z ~ 0 from the literature. At z > 1, this fraction increases to 92(+6)(-31)%, implying a steady decrease in the BCG SFR over the past ~9 Gyr. At low-z, we find that the specific star formation rate in BCGs is declining more slowly with time than for field or cluster galaxies, most likely due to the replenishing fuel from the cooling ICM in relaxed, cool core clusters. At z > 0.6, the correlation between cluster central entropy and BCG star formation - which is well established at z ~ 0 - is not present.more » Instead, we find that the most star-forming BCGs at high-z are found in the cores of dynamically unrelaxed clusters. We investigate the rest-frame near-UV morphology of a subsample of the most star-forming BCGs using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, finding complex, highly asymmetric UV morphologies on scales as large as ~50-60 kpc. The high fraction of star-forming BCGs hosted in unrelaxed, non-cool core clusters at early times suggests that the dominant mode of fueling star formation in BCGs may have recently transitioned from galaxy-galaxy interactions to ICM cooling.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 817; Journal Issue: 2
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); Australian Research Council
Country of Publication:
United States