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    We report the detection of the ground state rotational emission of ammonia, ortho-NH3 (JK = 10 → 00) in a gravitationally lensed intrinsically hyperluminous star-bursting galaxy at z = 2.6. The integrated line profile is consistent with other molecular and atomic emission lines which have resolved kinematics well modelled by a 5 kpc-diameter rotating disc. This implies that the gas responsible for NH3 emission is broadly tracing the global molecular reservoir, but likely distributed in pockets of high density (n ≳ 5 × 104 cm−3). With a luminosity of 2.8 × 106 L⊙, the NH3 emission represents 2.5 × 10−7 of the total infrared luminosity of the galaxy, comparable to the ratio observed in the Kleinmann–Low nebula in Orion and consistent with sites of massive star formation in the Milky Way. If $L_{\rm NH_3}/L_{\rm IR}$ serves as a proxy for the ‘mode’ of star formation, this hints that the nature of star formation in extreme starbursts in the early Universe is similar to that of Galactic star-forming regions, with a large fraction of the cold interstellar medium in this state, plausibly driven by a storm of violent disc instabilities in the gas-dominated disc. This supports the ‘full of Orions’ picture of star formation in the most extreme galaxies seen close to the peak epoch of stellar mass assembly.

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    Wide, deep, blind continuum surveys at submillimetre/millimetre (submm/mm) wavelengths are required to provide a full inventory of the dusty, distant Universe. However, conducting such surveys to the necessary depth, with sub-arcsec angular resolution, is prohibitively time-consuming, even for the most advanced submm/mm telescopes. Here, we report the most recent results from the ALMACAL project, which exploits the ‘free’ calibration data from the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) to map the lines of sight towards and beyond the ALMA calibrators. ALMACAL has now covered 1001 calibrators, with a total sky coverage around 0.3 deg2, distributed across the sky accessible from the Atacama desert, and has accumulated more than 1000 h of integration. The depth reached by combining multiple visits to each field makes ALMACAL capable of searching for faint, dusty, star-forming galaxies (DSFGs), with detections at multiple frequencies to constrain the emission mechanism. Based on the most up-to-date ALMACAL data base, we report the detection of 186 DSFGs with flux densities down to S870 µm ∼ 0.2 mJy, comparable with existing ALMA large surveys but less susceptible to cosmic variance. We report the number counts at five wavelengths between 870 μm and 3 mm, in ALMA bands 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, providing a benchmark for models of galaxy formation and evolution. By integrating the observed number counts and the best-fitting functions, we also present the resolved fraction of the cosmic infrared background (CIB) and the CIB spectral shape. Combining existing surveys, ALMA has currently resolved about half of the CIB in the submm/mm regime.

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    We have carried out the first spatially resolved investigation of the multiphase interstellar medium (ISM) at high redshift, using the z = 4.24 strongly lensed submillimetre galaxy H-ATLASJ142413.9+022303 (ID141). We present high-resolution (down to ∼350 pc) ALMA observations in dust continuum emission and in the CO(7–6), $\rm H_2O (2_{1,1} - 2_{0,2})$, [C i] (1–0), and [C i] (2–1) lines, the latter two allowing us to spatially resolve the cool phase of the ISM for the first time. Our modelling of the kinematics reveals that the system appears to be dominated by a rotationally-supported gas disc with evidence of a nearby perturber. We find that the [C i] (1–0) line has a very different distribution to the other lines, showing the existence of a reservoir of cool gas that might have been missed in studies of other galaxies. We have estimated the mass of the ISM using four different tracers, always obtaining an estimate in the range of $\rm 3.2{\!-\!}3.8 \times 10^{11}\ M_{\odot }$, significantly higher than our dynamical mass estimate of $\rm 0.8{\!-\!}1.3 \times 10^{11}\ M_{\odot }$. We suggest that this conflict and other similar conflicts reported in the literature is because the gas-to-tracer ratios are ≃4 times lower than the Galactic values used to calibrate the ISM in high-redshift galaxies. We demonstrate that this could result from a top-heavy initial mass function and strong chemical evolution. Using a variety of quantitative indicators, we show that, extreme though it is at z = 4.24, ID141 will likely join the population of quiescent galaxies that appears in the Universe at z ∼ 3.

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  4. 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 of 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. 
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  5. We present images obtained with LABOCA on the APEX telescope of a sample of 22 galaxies selected via their red Herschel SPIRE 250-, 350- and $500\textrm{-}\mu\textrm{m}$ colors. We aim to see if these luminous, rare and distant galaxies are signposting dense regions in the early Universe. Our $870\textrm{-}\mu\textrm{m}$ survey covers an area of $\approx0.8\,\textrm{deg}^2$ down to an average r.m.s. of $3.9\,\textrm{mJy beam}^{-1}$, with our five deepest maps going $\approx2\times$ deeper still. We catalog 86 DSFGs around our 'signposts', detected above a significance of $3.5\sigma$. This implies a $100\pm30\%$ over-density of $S_{870}>8.5\,\textrm{mJy}$ DSFGs, excluding our signposts, when comparing our number counts to those in 'blank fields'. Thus, we are $99.93\%$ confident that our signposts are pinpointing over-dense regions in the Universe, and $\approx95\%$ confident that these regions are over-dense by a factor of at least $\ge1.5\times$. Using template SEDs and SPIRE/LABOCA photometry we derive a median photometric redshift of $z=3.2\pm0.2$ for our signposts, with an interquartile range of $z=2.8\textrm{-}3.6$. We constrain the DSFGs likely responsible for this over-density to within $|\Delta z|\le0.65$ of their respective signposts. These 'associated' DSFGs are radially distributed within $1.6\pm0.5\,\textrm{Mpc}$ of their signposts, have median SFRs of $\approx(1.0\pm0.2)\times10^3\,M_{\odot}\,\textrm{yr}^{-1}$ (for a Salpeter stellar IMF) and median gas reservoirs of $\sim1.7\times10^{11}\,M_{\odot}$. These candidate proto-clusters have average total SFRs of at least $\approx (2.3\pm0.5)\times10^3\,M_{\odot}\,\textrm{yr}^{-1}$ and space densities of $\sim9\times10^{-7}\,\textrm{Mpc}^{-3}$, consistent with the idea that their constituents may evolve to become massive ETGs in the centers of the rich galaxy clusters we see today. 
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