The distribution of local star formation activity as a function of galaxy stellar mass, environment and morphology
Lofthouse, E. K.
Smith, D. J. B.
Hardcastle, M. J.
We present a detailed inventory of star formation in the local Universe, dissecting the cosmic star formation budget as a function of key variables that influence the star formation rate (SFR) of galaxies: stellar mass, local environment and morphology. We use a large homogeneous dataset from the SDSS to first study how the star-formation budget in galaxies with stellar masses greater than log(M/MSun) = 10 splits as a function of each parameter separately. We then explore how the budget behaves as a simultaneous function of these three parameters. We show that the bulk of the star formation at z < 0.075 (~65 per cent) takes place in spiral galaxies, that reside in the field, and have stellar masses between 10 < log(M/MSun) < 10.9. The ratio of the cosmic star formation budget hosted by galaxies in the field, groups and clusters is 21:3:1. Morphological ellipticals are minority contributors to local star formation. They make a measurable contribution to the star formation budget only at intermediate to high stellar masses, 10.3 < log(M/MSun) < 11.2 (where they begin to dominate by number), and typically in the field, where they contribute up to ~13 per cent of the total star-formation budget. This inventory of local star formation serves as a z~0 baseline which, when combined with similar work at high redshift, will enable us to understand the changes in SFR that have occurred over cosmic time and offers a strong constraint on models of galaxy formation.