We use HI and H2 global gas measurements of galaxies from xGASS and xCOLD GASS to investigate quenching paths of galaxies below the star formation main sequence (SFMS). We show that the population of galaxies below the SFMS is not a 1:1 match with the population of galaxies below the HI and H2 gas fraction scaling relations. Some galaxies in the transition zone (TZ) 1-sigma below the SFMS can be as HI-rich as those in the SFMS, and have on average longer gas depletion timescales. We find evidence for environmental quenching of satellites, but central galaxies in the TZ defy simple quenching pathways. Some of these so-called "quenched" galaxies may still have significant gas reservoirs and be unlikely to deplete them any time soon. As such, a correct model of galaxy quenching cannot be inferred with SFR (or other optical observables) alone, but must include observations of the cold gas. We also find that internal structure (particularly, the spatial distribution of old and young stellar populations) plays a significant role in regulating the star formation of gas-rich isolated TZ galaxies, suggesting the importance of bulges in their evolution.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- January 2020
- galaxies: evolution;
- galaxies: star formation;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 15 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS