The UV-optical galaxy color-magnitude diagram. III. Constraints on evolution from the blue to the red sequence

D. Christopher Martin, Ted K. Wyder, David Schiminovich, Tom A. Barlow, Karl Forster, Peter G. Friedman, Patrick Morrissey, Susan G. Neff, Mark Seibert, Todd Small, Barry Y. Welsh, Luciana Bianchi, José Donas, Timothy M. Heckman, Young Wook Lee, Barry F. Madore, Bruno Milliard, R. Michael Rich, Alex S. Szalay, Sukyoung K. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce a new quantity, the mass flux density of galaxies evolving from the blue sequence to the red sequence. We propose a simple technique for constraining this mass flux using the volume-corrected number density in the extinction-corrected UV-optical color-magnitude distribution, the stellar age indexes HδA and Dn (4000), and a simple prescription for spectral evolution using a quenched star formation history. We exploit the excellent separation of red and blue sequences in the NUV - r band Hess function. The final value we measure, pT = 0.033 M yr -1 Mpc-3, is strictly speaking an upper limit due to the possible contributions of bursting, composite, and extincted galaxies. However, it compares favorably with estimates of the average mass flux that we make based on the red luminosity function evolution derived from the DEEP2 and COMBO-17 surveys, pR = +0.034 Myr-1 Mpc-3. We find that the blue sequence mass has remained roughly constant since z = 1 (pB ≃ 0.01 Myr-1 Mpc-3, but the average on-going star formation of pSF ≃ 0.037 Myr-1 Mpc-3 over 0 < z < 1 is balanced by mass flux off the blue sequence. We explore the nature of the galaxies in the transition zone with particular attention to the frequency and impact of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The AGN fraction peaks in the transition zone. We find circumstantial, albeit weak evidence that the quench rates are higher in higher luminosity AGNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-356
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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