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  1. Abstract Distortions of the observed cosmic microwave background provide a direct measurement of the microwave background temperature at redshifts from 0 to 1 (refs.  1,2 ). Some additional background temperature estimates exist at redshifts from 1.8 to 3.3 based on molecular and atomic line-excitation temperatures in quasar absorption-line systems, but are model dependent 3 . No deviations from the expected (1 +  z ) scaling behaviour of the microwave background temperature have been seen 4 , but the measurements have not extended deeply into the matter-dominated era of the Universe at redshifts z  > 3.3. Here we report observations of submillimetre line absorption from the water molecule against the cosmic microwave background at z  = 6.34 in a massive starburst galaxy, corresponding to a lookback time of 12.8 billion years (ref.  5 ). Radiative pumping of the upper level of the ground-state ortho-H 2 O(1 10 –1 01 ) line due to starburst activity in the dusty galaxy HFLS3 results in a cooling to below the redshifted microwave background temperature, after the transition is initially excited by the microwave background. This implies a microwave background temperature of 16.4–30.2 K (1 σ range) at z  = 6.34, which is consistent with a background temperature increase withmore »redshift as expected from the standard ΛCDM cosmology 4 .« less
  2. 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 massmore »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
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. We present Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array S - (2–4 GHz), C - (4–8 GHz), and X -band (8–12 GHz) continuum observations toward seven radio-loud quasars at z  > 5. This sample has previously been found to exhibit spectral peaks at observed-frame frequencies above ∼1 GHz. We also present upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (uGMRT) band-2 (200 MHz), band-3 (400 MHz), and band-4 (650 MHz) radio continuum observations toward eight radio-loud quasars at z  > 5, selected from our previous GMRT survey, in order to sample their low-frequency synchrotron emission. Combined with archival radio continuum observations, all ten targets show evidence for spectral turnover. The turnover frequencies are ∼1–50 GHz in the rest frame, making these targets gigahertz-peaked-spectrum or high-frequency-peaker candidates. For the nine well-constrained targets with observations on both sides of the spectral turnover, we fit the entire radio spectrum with absorption models associated with synchrotron self-absorption and free-free absorption (FFA). Our results show that FFA in an external inhomogeneous medium can accurately describe the observed spectra for all nine targets, which may indicate an FFA origin for the radio spectral turnover in our sample. As for the complex spectrum of J114657.79+403708.6 at z  = 5.00 with two spectral peaks, itmore »may be caused by multiple components (i.e., core-jet) and FFA by the high-density medium in the nuclear region. However, we cannot rule out the spectral turnover origin of variability. Based on our radio spectral modeling, we calculate the radio loudness R 2500 Å for our sample, which ranges from 12 −1 +1 to 674 −51 +61 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  4. We investigate the molecular gas content of z  ∼ 6 quasar host galaxies using the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique Northern Extended Millimeter Array. We targeted the 3 mm dust continuum, and the line emission from CO(6–5), CO(7–6), and [C  I ] 2−1 in ten infrared–luminous quasars that have been previously studied in their 1 mm dust continuum and [C  II ] line emission. We detected CO(7–6) at various degrees of significance in all the targeted sources, thus doubling the number of such detections in z  ∼ 6 quasars. The 3 mm to 1 mm flux density ratios are consistent with a modified black body spectrum with a dust temperature T dust  ∼ 47 K and an optical depth τ ν  = 0.2 at the [C  II ] frequency. Our study provides us with four independent ways to estimate the molecular gas mass, M H2 , in the targeted quasars. This allows us to set constraints on various parameters used in the derivation of molecular gas mass estimates, such as the mass per luminosity ratios α CO and α [CII] , the gas-to-dust mass ratio δ g/d , and the carbon abundance [C]/H 2 . Leveraging either on the dust, CO, [C  I ], ormore »[C  II ] emission yields mass estimates of the entire sample in the range M H2  ∼ 10 10 –10 11 M ⊙ . We compared the observed luminosities of dust, [C  II ], [C  I ], and CO(7–6) with predictions from photo-dissociation and X-ray dominated regions. We find that the former provide better model fits to our data, assuming that the bulk of the emission arises from dense ( n H  > 10 4 cm −3 ) clouds with a column density N H  ∼ 10 23 cm −2 , exposed to a radiation field with an intensity of G 0  ∼ 10 3 (in Habing units). Our analysis reiterates the presence of massive reservoirs of molecular gas fueling star formation and nuclear accretion in z  ∼ 6 quasar host galaxies. It also highlights the power of combined 3 mm and 1 mm observations for quantitative studies of the dense gas content in massive galaxies at cosmic dawn.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. 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.

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  6. 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
  7. Abstract Radio free–free emission is considered to be one of the most reliable tracers of star formation in galaxies. However, as it constitutes the faintest part of the radio spectrum—being roughly an order of magnitude less luminous than radio synchrotron emission at the GHz frequencies typically targeted in radio surveys—the usage of free–free emission as a star formation rate tracer has mostly remained limited to the local universe. Here, we perform a multifrequency radio stacking analysis using deep Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array observations at 1.4, 3, 5, 10, and 34 GHz in the COSMOS and GOODS-North fields to probe free–free emission in typical galaxies at the peak of cosmic star formation. We find that z ∼ 0.5–3 star-forming galaxies exhibit radio emission at rest-frame frequencies of ∼65–90 GHz that is ∼1.5–2 times fainter than would be expected from a simple combination of free–free and synchrotron emission, as in the prototypical starburst galaxy M82. We interpret this as a deficit in high-frequency synchrotron emission, while the level of free–free emission is as expected from M82. We additionally provide the first constraints on the cosmic star formation history using free–free emission at 0.5 ≲ z ≲ 3, which are inmore »good agreement with more established tracers at high redshift. In the future, deep multifrequency radio surveys will be crucial in order to accurately determine the shape of the radio spectrum of faint star-forming galaxies, and to further establish radio free–free emission as a tracer of high-redshift star formation.« less
  8. 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
  9. ABSTRACT The infrared (IR) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of main-sequence galaxies in the early Universe (z > 4) is currently unconstrained as IR continuum observations are time-consuming and not feasible for large samples. We present Atacama Large Millimetre Array Band 8 observations of four main-sequence galaxies at z ∼ 5.5 to study their IR SED shape in detail. Our continuum data (rest-frame 110 $\rm \mu m$, close to the peak of IR emission) allows us to constrain luminosity-weighted dust temperatures and total IR luminosities. With data at longer wavelengths, we measure for the first time the emissivity index at these redshifts to provide more robust estimates of molecular gas masses based on dust continuum. The Band 8 observations of three out of four galaxies can only be reconciled with optically thin emission redward of rest-frame $100\, {\rm \mu m}$. The derived dust peak temperatures at z ∼ 5.5 ($30\!-\!43\, {\rm K}$) are elevated compared to average local galaxies, however, $\sim 10\, {\rm K}$ below what would be predicted from an extrapolation of the trend at z < 4. This behaviour can be explained by decreasing dust abundance (or density) towards high redshifts, which would cause the IR SED at the peakmore »to be more optically thin, making hot dust more visible to the external observer. From the $850{\hbox{-}}{\rm \mu m}$ dust continuum, we derive molecular gas masses between 1010 and $10^{11}\, {\rm M_{\odot }}$ and gas fractions (gas over total mass) of $30\!-\!80{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (gas depletion times of $100\!-\!220\, {\rm Myr}$). All in all, our results provide a first measured benchmark SED to interpret future millimetre observations of normal, main-sequence galaxies in the early Universe.« less