skip to main content

Title: CO excitation and line energy distributions in gas-selected galaxies

While emission-selected galaxy surveys are biased towards the most luminous part of the galaxy population, absorption selection is a potentially unbiased galaxy selection technique with respect to luminosity. However, the physical properties of absorption-selected galaxies are not well characterized. Here, we study the excitation conditions in the interstellar medium (ISM) in damped Ly α (DLA) absorption-selected galaxies. We present a study of the CO spectral-line energy distribution (SLED) in four high-metallicity absorption-selected galaxies with previously reported CO detections at intermediate (z ∼ 0.7) and high (z ∼ 2) redshifts. We find further evidence for a wide variety of ISM conditions in these galaxies. Two out of the four galaxies show CO SLEDs consistent with that of the Milky Way inner disc. Interestingly, one of these galaxies is at z ∼ 2 and has a CO SLED below that of main-sequence galaxies at similar redshifts. The other two galaxies at z > 2 show more excited ISM conditions, with one of them showing thermal excitation of the mid-J (J = 3, 4) levels, similar to that seen in two massive main-sequence galaxies at these redshifts. Overall, we find that absorption selection traces a diverse population of galaxies.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 2346-2355
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. 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
  2. We present a multiline survey of the interstellar medium (ISM) in two z  > 6 quasar host galaxies, PJ231−20 ( z  = 6.59) and PJ308−21 ( z  = 6.23), and their two companion galaxies. Observations were carried out using the Atacama Large (sub-)Millimeter Array (ALMA). We targeted 11 transitions including atomic fine-structure lines (FSLs) and molecular lines: [NII] 205 μm , [CI] 369 μm , CO ( J up  = 7, 10, 15, 16), H 2 O 3 12  − 2 21 , 3 21  − 3 12 , 3 03  − 2 12 , and the OH 163 μm doublet. The underlying far-infrared (FIR) continuum samples the Rayleigh-Jeans tail of the respective dust emission. By combining this information with our earlier ALMA [CII] 158 μm observations, we explored the effects of star formation and black hole feedback on the ISM of the galaxies using the CLOUDY radiative transfer models. We estimated dust masses, spectral indexes, IR luminosities, and star-formation rates from the FIR continuum. The analysis of the FSLs indicates that the [CII] 158 μm and [CI] 369 μm emission arises predominantly from the neutral medium in photodissociation regions (PDRs). We find that line deficits agree with those of local luminous IR galaxies. The CO spectral line energy distributions (SLEDs) reveal significant high- J COmore »excitation in both quasar hosts. Our CO SLED modeling of the quasar PJ231−20 shows that PDRs dominate the molecular mass and CO luminosities for J up  ≤ 7, while the J up  ≥ 10 CO emission is likely driven by X-ray dissociation regions produced by the active galactic nucleus (AGN) at the very center of the quasar host. The J up  > 10 lines are undetected in the other galaxies in our study. The H 2 O 3 21  − 3 12 line detection in the same quasar places this object on the L H 2 O  −  L TIR relation found for low- z sources, thus suggesting that this water vapor transition is predominantly excited by IR pumping. Models of the H 2 O SLED and of the H 2 O-to-OH 163 μm ratio point to PDR contributions with high volume and column density ( n H  ∼ 0.8 × 10 5 cm −3 , N H  = 10 24 cm −2 ) in an intense radiation field. Our analysis suggests a less highly excited medium in the companion galaxies. However, the current data do not allow us to definitively rule out an AGN in these sources, as suggested by previous studies of the same objects. This work demonstrates the power of multiline studies of FIR diagnostics in order to dissect the physical conditions in the first massive galaxies emerging from cosmic dawn.« less
  3. We present the first [C II] 158 μ m luminosity function (LF) at z  ∼ 5 from a sample of serendipitous lines detected in the ALMA Large Program to INvestigate [C II] at Early times (ALPINE). A study of the 118 ALPINE pointings revealed several serendipitous lines. Based on their fidelity, we selected 14 lines for the final catalog. According to the redshift of their counterparts, we identified eight out of 14 detections as [C II] lines at z  ∼ 5, along with two as CO transitions at lower redshifts. The remaining four lines have an elusive identification in the available catalogs and we considered them as [C II] candidates. We used the eight confirmed [C II] and the four [C II] candidates to build one of the first [C II] LFs at z  ∼ 5. We found that 11 out of these 12 sources have a redshift very similar to that of the ALPINE target in the same pointing, suggesting the presence of overdensities around the targets. Therefore, we split the sample in two (a “clustered” and “field” subsample) according to their redshift separation and built two separate LFs. Our estimates suggest that there could be an evolution of the [C II]more »LF between z  ∼ 5 and z  ∼ 0. By converting the [C II] luminosity to the star-formation rate, we evaluated the cosmic star-formation rate density (SFRD) at z  ∼ 5. The clustered sample results in a SFRD ∼10 times higher than previous measurements from UV–selected galaxies. On the other hand, from the field sample (likely representing the average galaxy population), we derived a SFRD ∼1.6 higher compared to current estimates from UV surveys but compatible within the errors. Because of the large uncertainties, observations of larger samples will be necessary to better constrain the SFRD at z  ∼ 5. This study represents one of the first efforts aimed at characterizing the demography of [C II] emitters at z  ∼ 5 using a mm selection of galaxies.« less
  4. Abstract

    We report CO(5 → 4) and CO(6 → 5) line observations in the dusty starbursting galaxy CRLE (z= 5.667) and the main-sequence (MS) galaxy HZ10 (z= 5.654) with the Northern Extended Millimeter Array. CRLE is the most luminousz> 5 starburst in the COSMOS field and HZ10 is the most gas-rich “normal” galaxy currently known atz> 5. We find line luminosities for CO(5 → 4) and CO(6 → 5) of (4.9 ± 0.5) and (3.8 ± 0.4) × 1010K km s−1pc2for CRLE and upper limits of < 0.76 and < 0.60 × 1010K km s−1pc2for HZ10, respectively. The CO excitation of CRLE appears comparable to otherz> 5 dusty star-forming galaxies. For HZ10, these line luminosity limits provide the first significant constraints of this kind for an MS galaxy atz> 5. We find the upper limit ofL54/L21in HZ10 could be similar to the average value for MS galaxies aroundz≈ 1.5, suggesting that MS galaxies with comparable gas excitation may already have existed one billion years after the Big Bang. For CRLE we determine the most likely values for the H2density, kinetic temperature, and dust temperature based on excitation modeling of the CO line ladder. Wemore »also derive a total gas mass of (7.1 ± 1.3) × 1010M. Our findings provide some of the currently most detailed constraints on the gas excitation that sets the conditions for star formation in a galaxy protocluster environment atz> 5.

    « less
  5. Abstract We report the detection of 23 OH + 1 → 0 absorption, emission, or P-Cygni-shaped lines and CO( J = 9→8) emission lines in 18 Herschel-selected z = 2–6 starburst galaxies with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and the NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array, taken as part of the Gas And Dust Over cosmic Time Galaxy Survey. We find that the CO( J = 9→8) luminosity is higher than expected based on the far-infrared luminosity when compared to nearby star-forming galaxies. Together with the strength of the OH + emission components, this may suggest that shock excitation of warm, dense molecular gas is more prevalent in distant massive dusty starbursts than in nearby star-forming galaxies on average, perhaps due to an impact of galactic winds on the gas. OH + absorption is found to be ubiquitous in massive high-redshift starbursts, and is detected toward 89% of the sample. The majority of the sample shows evidence for outflows or inflows based on the velocity shifts of the OH + absorption/emission, with a comparable occurrence rate of both at the resolution of our observations. A small subsample appears to show outflow velocities in excess of their escape velocities. Thus, starburst-driven feedback appearsmore »to be important in the evolution of massive galaxies in their most active phases. We find a correlation between the OH + absorption optical depth and the dust temperature, which may suggest that warmer starbursts are more compact and have higher cosmic-ray energy densities, leading to more efficient OH + ion production. This is in agreement with a picture in which these high-redshift galaxies are “scaled-up” versions of the most intense nearby starbursts.« less