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Caught in the act: using post-starburst galaxies to chart galaxy transformation over cosmic time

Presented by: Kate Rowlands (JHU Dept of Physics & Astronomy)
Category: Special Interest   Duration: 1 hour   Broadcast date: February 07, 2019
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One key problem in galaxy evolution is how and why galaxies stop forming stars. However, the exact mechanisms that lead to the disruption of the gas supply, the relative importance of different quenching mechanisms, and the timescales involved are still poorly understood. Post-starburst galaxies are an ideal laboratory to study the galaxy transition process as they have undergone a recent, rapid shutdown in star formation. My work showed that post-starburst galaxies are not completely devoid of gas, which challenges the rapid quenching mode thought to form the quiescent population. I will describe what the number densities, morphologies and gas contents of post-starburst galaxies reveal about the processes causing galaxies to transition from star forming to quiescent, and the role that current and future facilities play in shaping our understanding of galaxy transformation.