• Massive Quenched Galaxies at z ∼ 0.7 Retain Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs

      Suess, Katherine A.; Bezanson, Rachel; Spilker, Justin S.; Kriek, Mariska; Greene, Jenny E.; Feldmann, Robert; Hunt, Qiana; Narayanan, Desika; Univ Arizona, Steward Observ (IOP PUBLISHING LTD, 2017-09-01)
      The physical mechanisms that quench star formation, turning blue star-forming galaxies into red quiescent galaxies, remain unclear. In this Letter, we investigate the role of gas supply in suppressing star formation by studying the molecular gas content of post-starburst galaxies. Leveraging the wide area of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we identify a sample of massive intermediate-redshift galaxies that have just ended their primary epoch of star formation. We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array CO(2-1) observations of two of these post-starburst galaxies at z similar to 0.7 with M-* similar to 2 10(11) M-circle dot. Their molecular gas reservoirs of (6.4 +/- 0.8) x 10(9) M-circle dot and (34.0 +/- 1.6) x 10(9) M-circle dot are an order of magnitude larger than comparable-mass galaxies in the local universe. Our observations suggest that quenching does not require the total removal or depletion of molecular gas, as many quenching models suggest. However, further observations are required both to determine if these apparently quiescent objects host highly obscured star formation and to investigate the intrinsic variation in the molecular gas properties of post-starburst galaxies.