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Galaxy Bimodality and Post-Starburst Galaxies

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Post-starburst galaxies have long been known as an intriguing class of galaxies, identified through their unusual optical spectra as having had a recent burst of star formation that has since quenched. What cause the starburst and what caused the quenching? Originally identified in clusters (so-called E+A or K+A galaxies), they are now known to exist in all environments. They are rare at low-redshift, but increasingly common at high redshift. I will review recent progress in studying post-starburst galaxy properties, focussing on the question of whether they are true ‘transition’ species, i.e. galaxies transiting from the blue cloud to the red sequence, and how important they could be for accounting for the growth of the red sequence since z~2.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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