Luminosity function constraints on the evolution of massive red galaxies since z ∼ 0.9

Richard J. Cool, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Xiaohui Fan, Masataka Fukugita, Linhua Jiang, Claudia Maraston, Avery Meiksin, Donald P. Schneider, David A. Wake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


We measure the evolution of the luminous red galaxy (LRG) luminosity function in the redshift range 0.1 < z < 0.9 using samples of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as well as new spectroscopy of high-redshift massive red galaxies. Our high-redshift sample of galaxies is largest spectroscopic sample of massive red galaxies at z ∼ 0.9 collected to date and covers 7 deg2, minimizing the impact of large-scale structure on our results. We find that the LRG population has evolved little beyond the passive fading of its stellar populations since z ∼ 0.9. Based on our luminosity function measurements and assuming a nonevolving Salpeter stellar initial mass function, we find that the most massive (L > 3L*) red galaxies have grown by less than 50% (at 99% confidence), since z = 0.9, in stark contrast to the factor of 2-4 growth observed in the L* red galaxy population over the same epoch. We also investigate the evolution of the average LRG spectrum since z ∼ 0.9 and find the high-redshift composite to be well described as a passively evolving example of the composite galaxy observed at low redshift. From spectral fits to the composite spectra, we find at most 5% of the stellar mass in massive red galaxies may have formed within 1 Gyr of z = 0.9. While L* red galaxies are clearly assembled at z < 1, 3L* galaxies appear to be largely in place and evolve little beyond the passive evolution of their stellar populations over the last half of cosmic history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-936
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Luminosity function constraints on the evolution of massive red galaxies since z ∼ 0.9'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this