In order to investigate the role of gas in the demise of star formation on kpc-scales, we compare the resolved molecular gas main sequence (rMGMS: ΣH2 versus Σ⋆) of star-forming regions to the sequence of ‘retired’ regions that have ceased to form new stars. Using data from the ALMaQUEST survey, we find that retired spaxels form a rMGMS that is distinct from that of star-forming spaxels, offset to lower ΣH2 at fixed Σ⋆ by a factor of ∼5. We study the rMGMS of star-forming and retired spaxels on a galaxy-by-galaxy basis for eight individual ALMaQUEST(ALMA MaNGA QUEnching and STar formation) galaxies. Six of these galaxies have their retired spaxels concentrated within the central few kpc. Molecular gas is detected in 40–100 per cent of retired spaxels in the eight galaxies in our sample. Both the star-forming and retired rMGMS show a diversity in normalization from galaxy to galaxy. However, in any given galaxy, the rMGMS for retired regions is found to be distinct from the star-forming sequence and gas fractions of retired spaxels are up to an order of magnitude lower than the star-forming spaxels. We conclude that quenching is associated with a depletion (but not absence) of molecular gas via a mechanism that typically begins in the centre of the galaxy.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 502(1), p.L6-L10