Volume 443, Number 2, November IV 2005
|Page(s)||435 - 449|
|Published online||04 November 2005|
Red-sequence galaxies with young stars and dust: the cluster Abell 901/902 seen with COMBO-17
Department of Physics, Denys Wilkinson Bldg., University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford, OX1 3RH, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Accepted: 3 August 2005
We report the discovery of a rich component of dusty star-forming galaxies contaminating the red-sequence in the supercluster system comprising Abell 901a, 901b and A902 at redshift ~0.17. These galaxies do not fit into the colour-density relation, because their preferred habitat is different from that of regular red-sequence galaxies, which are typically dust-poor, old and passively evolving. The dusty red galaxies prefer the medium-density outskirts of clusters while being rare in both the low-density field and the high-density cluster cores. This new result is based on the information content in the medium-band photometry of the COMBO-17 survey. The photo-z accuracy of the ~800 brightest cluster galaxies is <0.01 and of the order of the velocity dispersion of the cluster. This enables us to select a rich and clean cluster sample, in which we can trace age-sensitive and dust-sensitive spectral features independently with the detailed medium-band SED data. We find the red colour of the dusty galaxies to be a result of dust extinction combined with relatively old stellar ages. We speculate that the dusty red galaxies could either be a product of minor mergers between established old red cluster galaxies with infalling blue field galaxies, or mark a period in the internal transformation of blue field galaxies into red cluster galaxies, which is triggered by the environmental influences experienced during cluster infall.
Key words: surveys / techniques: photometric / methods: data analysis / galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: evolution
© ESO, 2005
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