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High-velocity outflows in massive post-starburst galaxies at z > 1

Maltby, David T; Almaini, Omar; McLure, Ross J; Wild, Vivienne; Dunlop, James; Rowlands, Kate; Hartley, William G; Hatch, Nina A; Socolovsky, Miguel; Wilkinson, Aaron; Amorin, Ricardo; Bradshaw, Emma J; Carnall, Adam C; Castellano, Marco; Cimatti, Andrea; Cresci, Giovanni; Cullen, Fergus; De Barros, Stephane; Fontanot, Fabio; Garilli, Bianca; Koekemoer, Anton M; McLeod, Derek J; Pentericci, Laura; Talia, Margherita


Professor of Astrophysics

Ross J McLure

Vivienne Wild

James Dunlop

Kate Rowlands

William G Hartley

Associate Professor

Miguel Socolovsky

Aaron Wilkinson

Ricardo Amorin

Emma J Bradshaw

Adam C Carnall

Marco Castellano

Andrea Cimatti

Giovanni Cresci

Fergus Cullen

Stephane De Barros

Fabio Fontanot

Bianca Garilli

Anton M Koekemoer

Derek J McLeod

Laura Pentericci

Margherita Talia


We investigate the prevalence of galactic-scale outflows in post-starburst (PSB) galaxies at high redshift (1 < z < 1.4), using the deep optical spectra available in the UKIDSS Ultra Deep Survey (UDS). We use a sample of ∼40 spectroscopically confirmed PSBs, recently identified in the UDS field, and perform a stacking analysis in order to analyse the structure of strong interstellar absorption features such as Mg II (λ2800 Å). We find that for massive (⁠M∗>1010M⊙⁠) PSBs at z > 1, there is clear evidence for a strong blue-shifted component to the Mg II absorption feature, indicative of high-velocity outflows (⁠vout∼1150±160kms−1⁠) in the interstellar medium. We conclude that such outflows are typical in massive PSBs at this epoch, and potentially represent the residual signature of a feedback process that quenched these galaxies. Using full spectral fitting, we also obtain a typical stellar velocity dispersion σ* for these PSBs of ∼200kms−1⁠, which confirms they are intrinsically massive in nature (dynamical mass Md∼1011M⊙⁠). Given that these high-z PSBs are also exceptionally compact (re ∼ 1–2kpc⁠) and spheroidal (Sérsic index n ∼ 3), we propose that the outflowing winds may have been launched during a recent compaction event (e.g. major merger or disc collapse) that triggered either a centralized starburst or active galactic nuclei (AGN) activity. Finally, we find no evidence for AGN signatures in the optical spectra of these PSBs, suggesting they were either quenched by stellar feedback from the starburst itself, or that if AGN feedback is responsible, the AGN episode that triggered quenching does not linger into the post-starburst phase.


Maltby, D. T., Almaini, O., McLure, R. J., Wild, V., Dunlop, J., Rowlands, K., …Talia, M. (2019). High-velocity outflows in massive post-starburst galaxies at z > 1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 489(1), 1139-1151.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 5, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2019
Publication Date Oct 31, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 19, 2019
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 489
Issue 1
Pages 1139-1151
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


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