skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on May 1, 2023

Title: Kiloparsec-scale Imaging of the CO(1-0)-traced Cold Molecular Gas Reservoir in a z ∼ 3.4 Submillimeter Galaxy
Abstract We present a high-resolution study of the cold molecular gas as traced by CO(1-0) in the unlensed z ∼ 3.4 submillimeter galaxy SMM J13120+4242, using multiconfiguration observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA). The gas reservoir, imaged on 0.″39 (∼3 kpc) scales, is resolved into two components separated by ∼11 kpc with a total extent of 16 ± 3 kpc. Despite the large spatial extent of the reservoir, the observations show a CO(1-0) FWHM linewidth of only 267 ± 64 km s −1 . We derive a revised line luminosity of L CO ( 1 − 0 ) ′ = (10 ± 3) × 10 10 K km s −1 pc 2 and a molecular gas mass of M gas = (13 ± 3)× 10 10 ( α CO /1) M ⊙ . Despite the presence of a velocity gradient (consistent with previous resolved CO(6-5) imaging), the CO(1-0) imaging shows evidence for significant turbulent motions that are preventing the gas from fully settling into a disk. The system likely represents a merger in an advanced stage. Although the dynamical mass is highly uncertain, we use it to place an upper limit on the CO-to-H 2 mass more » conversion factor α CO of 1.4. We revisit the SED fitting, finding that this galaxy lies on the very massive end of the main sequence at z = 3.4. Based on the low gas fraction, short gas depletion time, and evidence for a central AGN, we propose that SMM J13120 is in a rapid transitional phase between a merger-driven starburst and an unobscured quasar. The case of SMM J13120 highlights how mergers may drive important physical changes in galaxies without pushing them off the main sequence. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Exploiting the sensitivity of the IRAM NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) and its ability to process large instantaneous bandwidths, we have studied the morphology and other properties of the molecular gas and dust in the star forming galaxy, H-ATLAS J131611.5+281219 (HerBS-89a), at z = 2.95. High angular resolution (0 . ″3) images reveal a partial 1 . ″0 diameter Einstein ring in the dust continuum emission and the molecular emission lines of 12 CO(9−8) and H 2 O(2 02  − 1 11 ). Together with lower angular resolution (0 . ″6) images, we report the detection of a series of molecular lines including the three fundamental transitions of the molecular ion OH + , namely (1 1  − 0 1 ), (1 2  − 0 1 ), and (1 0  − 0 1 ), seen in absorption; the molecular ion CH + (1 − 0) seen in absorption, and tentatively in emission; two transitions of amidogen (NH 2 ), namely (2 02  − 1 11 ) and (2 20  − 2 11 ) seen in emission; and HCN(11 − 10) and/or NH(1 2  − 0 1 ) seen in absorption. The NOEMA data are complemented with Very Large Array data tracing the 12 CO(1 − 0) emission line, which provides a measurement ofmore »the total mass of molecular gas and an anchor for a CO excitation analysis. In addition, we present Hubble Space Telescope imaging that reveals the foreground lensing galaxy in the near-infrared (1.15  μ m). Together with photometric data from the Gran Telescopio Canarias, we derive a photometric redshift of z phot = 0.9 −0.5 +0.3 for the foreground lensing galaxy. Modeling the lensing of HerBS-89a, we reconstruct the dust continuum (magnified by a factor μ  ≃ 5.0) and molecular emission lines (magnified by μ  ∼ 4 − 5) in the source plane, which probe scales of ∼0 . ″1 (or 800 pc). The 12 CO(9 − 8) and H 2 O(2 02  − 1 11 ) emission lines have comparable spatial and kinematic distributions; the source-plane reconstructions do not clearly distinguish between a one-component and a two-component scenario, but the latter, which reveals two compact rotating components with sizes of ≈1 kpc that are likely merging, more naturally accounts for the broad line widths observed in HerBS-89a. In the core of HerBS-89a, very dense gas with n H 2  ∼ 10 7 − 9 cm −3 is revealed by the NH 2 emission lines and the possible HCN(11 − 10) absorption line. HerBS-89a is a powerful star forming galaxy with a molecular gas mass of M mol  = (2.1 ± 0.4) × 10 11   M ⊙ , an infrared luminosity of L IR  = (4.6 ± 0.4) × 10 12   L ⊙ , and a dust mass of M dust  = (2.6 ± 0.2) × 10 9   M ⊙ , yielding a dust-to-gas ratio δ GDR  ≈ 80. We derive a star formation rate SFR = 614 ± 59  M ⊙ yr −1 and a depletion timescale τ depl  = (3.4 ± 1.0) × 10 8 years. The OH + and CH + absorption lines, which trace low (∼100 cm −3 ) density molecular gas, all have their main velocity component red-shifted by Δ V  ∼ 100 km s −1 relative to the global CO reservoir. We argue that these absorption lines trace a rare example of gas inflow toward the center of a galaxy, indicating that HerBS-89a is accreting gas from its surroundings.« less
  2. Abstract We report new observations toward the hyperluminous dusty starbursting major merger ADFS-27 ( z  = 5.655), using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). We detect CO ( J  = 2 → 1), CO ( J  = 8 → 7), CO ( J  = 9 → 8), CO ( J  = 10 → 9), and H 2 O (3 12  → 2 21 ) emission, and a P Cygni−shaped OH + (1 1  → 0 1 ) absorption/emission feature. We also tentatively detect H 2 O (3 21  → 3 12 ) and OH + (1 2 → 0 1 ) emission and CH + ( J  = 1 → 0) absorption. We find a total cold molecular mass of M gas  = (2.1 ± 0.2) × 10 11 ( α CO /1.0) M ⊙ . We also find that the excitation of the star-forming gas is overall moderate for a z > 5 dusty starburst, which is consistent with its moderate dust temperature. A high-density, high kinetic temperature gas component embedded in the gas reservoir is required to fully explain the CO line ladder. This component is likely associated with the “maximum starburst” nuclei in the two merging galaxies, which are separated by only 140 ± 13 km s −1 along the line of sightmore »and 9.0 kpc in projection. The kinematic structure of both components is consistent with galaxy disks, but this interpretation remains limited by the spatial resolution of the current data. The OH + features are only detected toward the northern component, which is also the one that is more enshrouded in dust and thus remains undetected up to 1.6 μ m even in our sensitive new Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 imaging. The absorption component of the OH + line is blueshifted and peaks near the CO and continuum emission peak, while the emission is redshifted and peaks offset by 1.7 kpc from the CO and continuum emission peak, suggesting that the gas is associated with a massive molecular outflow from the intensely star-forming nucleus that supplies 125 M ⊙ yr −1 of enriched gas to its halo.« less
  3. Abstract

    We report a NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array search for redshifted CO emission from the galaxies associated with seven high-metallicity ([M/H] ≥ −1.03) damped Lyαabsorbers (DLAs) atz≈ 1.64–2.51. Our observations yielded one new detection of CO(3–2) emission from a galaxy atz= 2.4604 using NOEMA, associated with thez= 2.4628 DLA toward QSO B0201+365. Including previous searches, our search results in detection rates of CO emission of5624+38% and119+26%, respectively, in the fields of DLAs with [M/H] > −0.3 and [M/H] < −0.3. Further, the Hi–selected galaxies associated with five DLAs with [M/H] > −0.3 all have high molecular gas masses, ≳5 × 1010M. This indicates that the highest-metallicity DLAs atz≈ 2 are associated with the most massive galaxies. The newly identifiedz≈ 2.4604 Hi–selected galaxy, DLA0201+365g, has an impact parameter of ≈7 kpc to the QSO sightline, and an implied molecular gas mass of (5.04 ± 0.78) × 1010× (αCO/4.36) × (r31/0.55)M. Archival Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 imaging covering the rest-frame near-ultraviolet (NUV) and far-ultraviolet (FUV) emission from this galaxy yield nondetections of rest-frame NUV and FUV emission, and a 5σupper limit of 2.3Myr−1on the unobscuredmore »star formation rate (SFR). The low NUV-based SFR estimate, despite the very high molecular gas mass, indicates that DLA0201+365g either is a very dusty galaxy, or has a molecular gas depletion time that is around 2 orders of magnitude larger than that of star-forming galaxies at similar redshifts.

    « less
  4. We studied the molecular gas properties of AzTEC/C159, a star-forming disk galaxy at $z=4.567$. We secured $^{12}$CO molecular line detections for the $J=2\to1$ and $J=5\to4$ transitions using the Karl G. Jansky VLA and the NOEMA interferometer. The broad (FWHM$\sim750\,{\rm km\,s}^{-1}$) and tentative double-peaked profiles of both $^{12}$CO lines are consistent with an extended molecular gas reservoir, which is distributed in a rotating disk as previously revealed from [CII] 158$\mu$m line observations. Based on the $^{12}$CO(2$\to$1) emission line we derived $L'_{\rm{CO}}=(3.4\pm0.6)\times10^{10}{\rm \,K\,km\,s}^{-1}{\rm \,pc}^{2}$, that yields a molecular gas mass of $M_{\rm H_2 }(\alpha_{\rm CO}/4.3)=(1.5\pm0.3)\times 10^{11}{\rm M}_\odot$ and unveils a gas-rich system with $\mu_{\rm gas}(\alpha_{\rm CO}/4.3)\equiv M_{\rm H_2}/M_\star=3.3\pm0.7$. The extreme star formation efficiency (SFE) of AzTEC/C159, parametrized by the ratio $L_{\rm{IR}}/L'_{\rm{CO}}=(216\pm80)\, {\rm L}_{\odot}{\rm \,(K\,km\,s}^{-1}{\rm \,pc}^{2})^{-1}$, is comparable to merger-driven starbursts such as local ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) and SMGs. Likewise, the $^{12}$CO(5$\to$4)/CO(2$\to$1) line brightness temperature ratio of $r_{52}= 0.55\pm 0.15$ is consistent with high excitation conditions, similar to that observed in SMGs. We constrained the value for the $L'_{\text{CO}}-{\rm H}_2$ mass conversion factor in AzTEC/C159, i.e. $\alpha_{\text{CO}}=3.9^{+2.7}_{-1.3}{\rm \,M}_{\odot}{\rm \,K}^{-1}{\rm \,km}^{-1}{\rm \,s\,pc}^{-2}$, that is consistent with a self-gravitating molecular gas distribution as observed in local star-forming disk galaxies. Cold gas streams from cosmologicalmore »filaments might be fueling a gravitationally unstable gas-rich disk in AzTEC/C159, which breaks into giant clumps forming stars as efficiently as in merger-driven systems and generate high gas excitation.« less
  5. Abstract

    We report a Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array search for redshifted CO(1–0) emission from three Hi-absorption-selected galaxies atz≈ 2, identified earlier in their CO(3–2) or CO(4–3) emission. We detect CO(1–0) emission from DLA B1228-113 atz≈ 2.1933 and DLA J0918+1636 atz≈ 2.5848; these are the first detections of CO(1–0) emission in high-zHi-selected galaxies. We obtain high molecular gas masses,Mmol≈ 1011× (αCO/4.36)M, for the two objects with CO(1–0) detections, which are a factor of ≈1.5–2 lower than earlier estimates. We determine the excitation of the mid-JCO rotational levels relative to theJ= 1 level,rJ1, in Hi-selected galaxies for the first time, obtainingr31= 1.00 ± 0.20 andr41= 1.03 ± 0.23 for DLA J0918+1636, andr31= 0.86 ± 0.21 for DLA B1228-113. These values are consistent with thermal excitation of theJ= 3 andJ= 4 levels. The excitation of theJ= 3 level in the Hi-selected galaxies is similar to that seen in massive main-sequence and submillimeter galaxies atz≳2, but higher than that in main-sequence galaxies atz≈ 1.5; the higher excitation of the galaxies atz≳ 2 is likely to be due to their higher star formation rate (SFR) surface density. We use Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 imaging to detect the rest-frame near-ultraviolet (NUV)more »emission of DLA B1228-113, obtaining an NUV SFR of 4.44 ± 0.47Myr−1, significantly lower than that obtained from the total infrared luminosity, indicating significant dust extinction in thez≈ 2.1933 galaxy.

    « less