Synchronized formation of starburst and post-starburst galaxies in merging clusters of galaxies

Kenji Bekki*, Matt S. Owers, Warrick J. Couch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


We propose that synchronized triggering of star formation in gas-rich galaxies is possible during major mergers of cluster of galaxies, based on new numerical simulations of the time evolution of the physical properties of the intracluster medium (ICM) during such a merger event. Our numerical simulations show that the external pressure of the ICM, in which cluster member galaxies are embedded, can increase significantly during cluster merging. As such, efficient star formation can be triggered in gas-rich members as a result of the strong compression of their cold gas by the increased pressure. We also suggest that these star-forming galaxies can subsequently be transformed into post-starburst galaxies, with their spatial distribution within the cluster being different than that of the rest of the population. We discuss whether this possible merger-induced enhancement in the number of star-forming and post-star-forming cluster galaxies is consistent with the observed evolution of galaxies in merging clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L27-L31
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: halos
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • galaxies: structure

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