The breakBRD Breakdown: Using IllustrisTNG to Track the Quenching of an Observationally Motivated Sample of Centrally Star-forming Galaxies

Claire Kopenhafer, Tjitske K. Starkenburg, Stephanie Tonnesen, Sarah Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The observed breakBRD ("break bulges in red disks") galaxies are a nearby sample of face-on disk galaxies with particularly centrally concentrated star formation: they have red disks but recent star formation in their centers as measured by the D n 4000 spectral index. In this paper, we search for breakBRD analogs in the IllustrisTNG simulation and describe their history and future. We find that a small fraction (∼4% at z = 0; ∼1% at z = 0.5) of galaxies fulfill the breakBRD criteria, in agreement with observations. In comparison with the mass-weighted parent IllustrisTNG sample, these galaxies tend to consist of a higher fraction of satellite and splashback galaxies. However, the central, non-splashback breakBRD galaxies show similar environments, black hole masses, and merger rates, indicating that there is not a single formation trigger for inner star formation and outer quenching. We determine that breakBRD analog galaxies as a whole are in the process of quenching. The breakBRD state, with its highly centrally concentrated star formation, is uncommon in the history of either currently quiescent or star-forming galaxies; however, approximately 10% of 1010 < M ∗/M o˙ < 1011 quiescent galaxies at z = 0 have experienced SFR concentrations comparable to those of the breakBRDs in their past. Additionally, the breakBRD state is short lived, lasting a few hundred Myr up to ∼2 Gyr. The observed breakBRD galaxies may therefore be a unique sample of outside-in quenching galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabbd9c
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume903
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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