Downsizing of star-forming galaxies by gravitational processes
Meteorological Research Institute, Nagamine, Tsukuba 305-0052, Japan e-mail: email@example.com
2 Physics Department, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan
Accepted: 5 August 2006
Context.There is observed a trend that a lower mass galaxy forms stars at a later epoch. This downsizing of star-forming galaxies has been attributed to hydrodynamical or radiative feedback processes that regulate star formation.
Aims.We explain the downsizing by gravitational processes alone, in the bottom-up scenario where galaxies evolve from subgalactic-scale objects.
Methods.Using the theory of Press and Schechter, as a function of galaxy mass, we study the peak epoch of formation of subgalactic-scale objects, i.e., gravitational collapse of subgalactic-scale density fluctuation.
Results.The subgalactic-scale density fluctuation is found to collapse at a later epoch for a lower mass galaxy. The epoch is close to the peak epoch of star formation derived from observations.
Conclusions.The downsizing is inherent in gravitational processes of the bottom-up scenario. Within a region of the initial density field that is to evolve into a lower mass galaxy, subgalactic-scale fluctuation is of a smaller amplitude. Gravitational collapse of the subgalactic-scale density fluctuation and the subsequent onset of star formation occur at a later epoch for a lower mass galaxy.
Key words: cosmology: theory / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: formation
© ESO, 2006