The evolving luminosity function of red galaxies

Michael Brown, Arjun Dey, Buell T Jannuzi, Kate Brand, Andrew John Benson, Mark Brodwin, Darren John Croton, P Eisenhardt

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    We trace the assembly history of red galaxies since z = 1 by measuring their evolving space density with the B-band luminosity function. Our sample of 39,599 red galaxies, selected from 6.96 deg(2) of imaging from the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey and the Spitzer IRAC Shallow Survey, is an order of magnitude larger, in size and volume, than comparable samples in the literature. We measure a higher space density of z similar to 0.9 red galaxies than some of the recent literature, in part because we account for the faint yet significant galaxy flux that falls outside of our photometric aperture. The B-band luminosity density of red galaxies, which effectively measures the evolution of similar to L* galaxies, increases by only 36 +/- 13 from z = 0 to z = 1. If red galaxy stellar populations have faded by similar or equal to 1.24 B-band magnitudes since z = 1, the stellar mass contained within the red galaxy population has roughly doubled over the past 8 Gyr. This is consistent with star-forming galaxies being transformed into less than or similar to L* red galaxies after a decline in their star formation rates. In contrast, the evolution of similar or equal to 4L* red galaxies differs only slightly from a model with negligible z lt; 1 star formation and no galaxy mergers. If this model approximates the luminosity evolution of red galaxy stellar populations, then similar or equal to 80 of the stellar mass contained within today s 4L* red galaxies was already in place at z = 0.7. While red galaxy mergers have been observed, such mergers do not produce rapid growth of 4L* red galaxy stellar masses between z = 1 and the present day.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)858 - 877
    Number of pages20
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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