Evolution of the color-magnitude relation in high-redshift clusters: blue early-type galaxies and red pairs in RDCS J0910+5422

S. Mei, J. P. Blakeslee, S. A. Stanford, B. P. Holden, P. Rosati, V. Sirazzullo, N. Homeier, M. Postman, M. Franx, A. Rettura, H. Ford, G. D. Illingworth, S. Eitori, R. J. Bouwens, R. Demarco, A. R. Martel, M. Clampin, G. F. Hartig, P. Eisenhardt, D. R. ArdilaF. Bartko, N. Benítez, L. D. Bradley, T. J. Broadhurst, R. A. Brown, C. J. Burrows, E. S. Cheng, N. J.G. Cross, P. D. Feldman, D. A. Golimowski, T. Goto, C. Gronwall, L. Infante, R. A. Kimble, J. E. Krist, M. P. Lesser, F. Menanteau, G. R. Meurer, G. K. Miley, V. Motta, M. Sirianni, W. B. Sparks, H. D. Tran, Z. I. Tsvetanov, R. L. White, W. Zheng

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66 Scopus citations


The color-magnitude relation has been determined for the RDCS J0910+5422 cluster of galaxies at redshift z = 1.106. Cluster members were selected from the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST ACS) images, combined with ground-based near-IR imaging and optical spectroscopy. The observed early-type color-magnitude relation (CMR) in i775 - z 850 versus z850 shows an intrinsic scatter in color of 0.060 ± 0.009 mag, within 1′ from the cluster X-ray emission center. Both the elliptical and the S0 galaxies show small scatter about the CMR of 0.042 ± 0.010 and 0.044 ± 0.020 mag, respectively. From the scatter about the CMR, a mean luminosity-weighted age t̄ > 3.3 Gyr (zf ≈ 3) is derived for the elliptical galaxies, assuming a simple stellar population modeling (single-burst solar metallicity). Strikingly, the S0 galaxies in RDCS J0910+5422 are systematically bluer in i775 - z850, by 0.07 ± 0.02 mag, than the ellipticals. The ellipticity distribution as a function of color indicates that the face-on S0s in this particular cluster have likely been classified as elliptical. Thus, if anything, the offset in color between the elliptical and S0 populations may be even more significant. The color offset between S0 and E galaxies corresponds to an age difference of ≈1 Gyr for a single-burst solar-metallicity model. A solar-metallicity model with an exponential decay in star formation will reproduce the offset for an age of 3.5 Gyr; i.e., the S0s have evolved gradually from star-forming progenitors. The early-type population in this cluster appears to be still forming. The blue early-type disk galaxies in RDCS J0910+5422 likely represent the direct progenitors of the more evolved S0s that follow the same red sequence as elliptical galaxies in other clusters. Thirteen red galaxy pairs are observed, and the galaxies associated in pairs constitute ∼40% of the CMR galaxies in this cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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