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  1. Aims. We present the results of three commissioning H  I observations obtained with the MeerKAT radio telescope. These observations make up part of the preparation for the forthcoming MHONGOOSE nearby galaxy survey, which is a MeerKAT large survey project that will study the accretion of gas in galaxies and the link between gas and star formation. Methods. We used the available H  I data sets, along with ancillary data at other wavelengths, to study the morphology of the MHONGOOSE sample galaxy, ESO 302-G014, which is a nearby gas-rich dwarf galaxy. Results. We find that ESO 302-G014 has a lopsided, asymmetric outer disc with a low column density. In addition, we find a tail or filament of H  I clouds extending away from the galaxy, as well as an isolated H  I cloud some 20 kpc to the south of the galaxy. We suggest that these features indicate a minor interaction with a low-mass galaxy. Optical imaging shows a possible dwarf galaxy near the tail, but based on the current data, we cannot confirm any association with ESO 302-G014. Nonetheless, an interaction scenario with some kind of low-mass companion is still supported by the presence of a significant amount of molecularmore »gas, which is almost equal to the stellar mass, and a number of prominent stellar clusters, which suggest recently triggered star formation. Conclusions. These data show that MeerKAT produces exquisite imaging data. The forthcoming full-depth survey observations of ESO 302-G014 and other sample galaxies will, therefore, offer insights into the fate of neutral gas as it moves from the intergalactic medium onto galaxies.« less
  2. 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