The VANDELS survey: The star-formation histories of massive quiescent galaxies at 1.0 < z < 1.3

A. C. Carnall, R. J. McLure, J. S. Dunlop, F. Cullen, D. J. McLeod, V. Wild, B. D. Johnson, S. Appleby, R. Davé, R. Amorin, M. Bolzonella, M. Castellano, A. Cimatti, O. Cucciati, A. Gargiulo, B. Garilli, F. Marchi, L. Pentericci, L. Pozzetti, C. SchreiberM. Talia, G. Zamorani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We present a Bayesian full-spectral-fitting analysis of 75 massive (M > 1010.3 M) UVJ-selected galaxies at redshifts of 1.0 < z < 1.3, combining extremely deep rest-frame ultraviolet spectroscopy from VANDELS with multiwavelength photometry. By the use of a sophisticated physical plus systematic uncertainties model, constructed within the BAGPIPES code, we place strong constraints on the star-formation histories (SFHs) of individual objects. We first constrain the stellar mass versus stellar age relationship, finding a steep trend towards earlier average formation time with increasing stellar mass (downsizing) of 1.48+003439 Gyr per decade in mass, although this shows signs of flattening at M > 1011 M. We show that this is consistent with other spectroscopic studies from 0 < z < 2. This relationship places strong constraints on the AGN-feedback models used in cosmological simulations. We demonstrate that, although the relationships predicted by SIMBA and ILLUSTRISTNG agree well with observations at z = 0.1, they are too shallow at z = 1, predicting an evolution of≲0.5 Gyr per decade in mass. Secondly, we consider the connections between green-valley, post-starburst, and quiescent galaxies, using our inferred SFH shapes and the distributions of galaxy physical properties on the UVJ diagram. The majority of our lowest-mass galaxies (M ∼ 1010.5 M) are consistent with formation in recent (z < 2), intense starburst events, with time-scales of ≲500 Myr. A second class of objects experience extended star-formation epochs before rapidly quenching, passing through both green-valley and post-starburst phases. The most massive galaxies in our sample are extreme systems: already old by z = 1, they formed at z ∼ 5 and quenched by z = 3. However, we find evidence for their continued evolution through both AGN and rejuvenated star-formation activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-439
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 21 2019


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Methods: statistical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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