Spatially resolved galaxy star formation and its environmental dependence. i

Niraj Welikala*, Andrew J. Connolly, Andrew M. Hopkins, Ryan Scranton, Alberto Conti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


We use the photometric information contained in individual pixels of 44,964 (0.019 < z < 0.125 and -23.5 < Mr < -20.5) galaxies in the Fourth Data Release (DR4) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to investigate the effects of environment on galaxy star formation (SF). We use the pixel-z technique, which combines stellar population synthesis models with photometric redshift template fitting on the scale of individual pixels in galaxy images. Spectral energy distributions are constructed, sampling a wide range of properties such as age, star formation rate (SFR), dust obscuration, and metallicity. By summing the SFRs in the pixels, we demonstrate that the distribution of total galaxy SFR shifts to lower values as the local density of surrounding galaxies increases, as found in other studies. The effect is most prominent in the galaxies with the highest SF, and we see the break in the SFR-density relation at a local galaxy density of ≈0.05 (Mpc h -1)-3. Since our method allows us to spatially resolve the SF distribution within galaxies, we can calculate the mean SFR of each galaxy as a function of radius. We find that on average the mean SFR is dominated by SF in the central regions of galaxies, and that the trend for suppression of SFR in high-density environments is driven by a reduction in this nuclear SF. We also find that the mean SFR in the outskirts is largely independent of environmental effects. This trend in the mean SFR is shared by galaxies which are highly star forming, while those which are weakly star forming show no statistically significant correlation between their environment and the mean SFR at any radius.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-984
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation


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