Recent spectroscopic observations of galaxies in distant clusters have revealed that the rate of star formation in star-forming galaxies is significantly suppressed with respect to their counterparts in the field at a similar redshift. It is, however, highly uncertain which physical processes are responsible for this suppression. We present the results of a numerical investigation of how the global tidal field of a cluster dynamically influences the reservoir of halo gas surrounding a disk galaxy as it falls into the cluster from the surrounding field. We find that the tidal field of the cluster efficiently removes the halo gas from the galaxy, thereby halting its accretion onto the disk, and thus the fueling of star formation within. This effectively truncates the galaxy's star formation. We also find that this tidal truncation does not depend very strongly on the orbit of the disk with respect to the center of the cluster. These results suggest that the global tidal field of clusters is capable of causing a widespread and uniform suppression of star formation in galaxies accreted by the cluster. In light of these results, we discuss the importance of this tidal truncation of the gas supply in the formation of SO galaxies in clusters.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan,
Vol. 53, no. 3 (2001), pp. 395-400