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D'Eugenio, C.; Daddi, E.; Gobat, R.; Strazzullo, V.; Lustig, P.; Delvecchio, I.; Jin, S.; Puglisi, A.; Calabro, A.; Mancini, C.; Dickinson, M.; Cimatti, A.; Onodera, M. (2020): The Typical Massive Quiescent Galaxy at z similar to 3 is a Post-starburst. In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 892, No. 1, L2
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Abstract

We have obtained spectroscopic confirmation with Hubble Space Telescope WFC3/G141 of a first sizeable sample of nine quiescent galaxies at 2.4 z < 3.3. Their average near-UV/optical rest-frame spectrum is characterized by low attenuation (A(V) similar to 0.6 mag) and a strong Balmer break, larger than the 4000 A break, corresponding to a fairly young age of similar to 300 Myr. This formally classifies a substantial fraction of classically selected quiescent galaxies at z similar to 3 as post-starbursts, marking their convergence to the quenching epoch. The rapid spectral evolution with respect to z similar to 1.5 quiescent galaxies is not matched by an increase of residual star formation, as judged from the weak detection of [O ii]lambda 3727 emission, pointing to a flattening of the steep increase in gas fractions previously seen from z similar to 0 to 1.8. However, radio 3 GHz stacked emission implies either much stronger dust-obscured star formation or substantial further evolution in radio-mode AGN activity with respect to z similar to 1.5.