372 research outputs found

    A CO emission line from the optical and near-IR undetected submillimeter galaxy GN10

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    We report the detection of a CO emission line from the submillimiter galaxy (SMG) GN10 in the GOODS-N field. GN10 lacks any counterpart in extremely deep optical and near-IR imaging obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based facilities. This is a prototypical case of a source that is extremely obscured by dust, for which it is practically impossible to derive a spectroscopic redshift in the optical/near-IR. Under the hypothesis that GN10 is part of a proto-cluster structure previously identified at z~4.05 in the same field, we searched for CO[4-3] at 91.4 GHz with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, and successfully detected a line. We find that the most likely redshift identification is z=4.0424+-0.0013, based on: 1) the very low chance that the CO line is actually serendipitous from a different redshift; 2) a radio-IR photometric redshift analysis; 3) the identical radio-IR SED, within a scaling factor, of two other SMGs at the same redshift. The faintness at optical/near-IR wavelengths requires an attenuation of A_V~5-7.5 mag. This result supports the case that a substantial population of very high-z SMGs exists that had been missed by previous spectroscopic surveys. This is the first time that a CO emission line has been detected for a galaxy that is invisible in the optical and near-IR. Our work demonstrates the power of existing and planned facilities for completing the census of star formation and stellar mass in the distant Universe by measuring redshifts of the most obscured galaxies through millimeter spectroscopy.Comment: 5 pages, 4 figures. ApJ Letters in pres

    Bright submillimeter galaxies do trace galaxy protoclusters

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    There is controversy whether dusty starbursts selected at submillimeter wavelengths can trace galaxy overdensities. We perform the first systematic search for protoclusters around a homogeneously selected sample of 12 spectroscopically confirmed submillimeter galaxies (SMGs) at z1.25.3z\sim1.2-5.3 in the GOODS-N field. We applied the Poisson Probability Method (PPM) to search for Mpc scale overdensities around these SMGs using three photometric redshift catalogs. We detect galaxy overdensities for 11 out of the 12 SMGs (92%±892\%\pm8\%), distributed over eight protoclusters. We confirm three previously discovered protoclusters, and we detect five new ones around the SMGs SMMJ123634 (z=1.225z=1.225), ID.19 (z=2.047z=2.047), SMMJ123607 (z=2.487z=2.487), SMMJ123606 (z=2.505z=2.505), and GN10 (z=5.303z=5.303). A wavelet-based analysis shows that the SMGs live in protocluster cores with a complex morphology (compact, filamentary, or clumpy) and an average size of (0.41)\sim(0.4-1)Mpc. By comparing the PPM results obtained using independently the three redshift catalogs, we possibly witness a transitioning phase at z4z\gtrsim4 for the galaxy populations. While z4z\lesssim4 protoclusters appear to be populated by dusty galaxies, those at highest redshifts z5z\sim5 are detected as overdensities of Lymanα\alpha emitters or Lyman break galaxies. We also find a good correlation between the molecular (H2_2) gas mass of the SMG and the overdensity significance. To explain the overall phenomenology, we suggest that galaxy interactions in dense environments likely triggered the starburst and gas-rich phase of the SMGs. Altogether, we support the scenario that SMGs are excellent tracers of distant protoclusters. Those presented in this work are excellent targets for the {\it James Webb Space Telescope.} Surveys with forthcoming facilities (e.g., {\it Euclid}, LSST) can be tuned to detect even larger samples of distant protoclusters.Comment: 22 pages, Astronomy & Astrophysics in press. HTML files of Figure 3 are available at https://obswww.unige.ch/~castigna/Figure3_html

    The kiloparsec-scale star formation law at redshift 4: wide-spread, highly efficient star formation in the dust-obscured starburst galaxy GN20

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    We present high-resolution observations of the 880 μ\mum (rest-frame FIR) continuum emission in the z==4.05 submillimeter galaxy GN20 from the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI). These data resolve the obscured star formation in this unlensed galaxy on scales of 0.3^{\prime\prime}×\times0.2^{\prime\prime} (\sim2.1×\times1.3 kpc). The observations reveal a bright (16±\pm1 mJy) dusty starburst centered on the cold molecular gas reservoir and showing a bar-like extension along the major axis. The striking anti-correlation with the HST/WFC3 imaging suggests that the copious dust surrounding the starburst heavily obscures the rest-frame UV/optical emission. A comparison with 1.2 mm PdBI continuum data reveals no evidence for variations in the dust properties across the source within the uncertainties, consistent with extended star formation, and the peak star formation rate surface density (119±\pm8 M_{\odot} yr1^{-1} kpc2^{-2}) implies that the star formation in GN20 remains sub-Eddington on scales down to 3 kpc2^2. We find that the star formation efficiency is highest in the central regions of GN20, leading to a resolved star formation law with a power law slope of ΣSFR\Sigma_{\rm SFR} \sim ΣH22.1±1.0\Sigma_{\rm H_2}^{\rm 2.1\pm1.0}, and that GN20 lies above the sequence of normal star-forming disks, implying that the dispersion in the star formation law is not due solely to morphology or choice of conversion factor. These data extend previous evidence for a fixed star formation efficiency per free-fall time to include the star-forming medium on \simkpc-scales in a galaxy 12 Gyr ago.Comment: 6 pages, 5 figures, accepted to ApJ

    Expanded Very Large Arrays Observations of a Proto-Cluster of Molecular Gas-Rich Galaxies at z = 4.05

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    We present observations of the molecular gas in the GN20 proto-cluster of galaxies at z = 4.05 using the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). This group of galaxies is the ideal laboratory for studying the formation of massive galaxies via luminous, gas-rich starbursts within 1.6 Gyr of the big bang. We detect three galaxies in the proto-cluster in CO 2-1 emission, with gas masses (H_2) between 10^(10) and 10^(11) × (α/0.8) M_⊙. The emission from the brightest source, GN20, is resolved with a size ~2'' and has a clear north-south velocity gradient, possibly indicating ordered rotation. The gas mass in GN20 is comparable to the stellar mass (1.3 × 10^(11) × (α/0.8) M_⊙ and 2.3 × 10^(11) M_⊙, respectively), and the sum of gas plus stellar mass is comparable to the dynamical mass of the system (~3.4 × 10^(11)[sin (i)/sin (45°)]^(–2) M_⊙), within a 5 kpc radius. There is also evidence for a tidal tail extending another 2'' north of the galaxy with a narrow velocity dispersion. GN20 may be a massive, gas-rich disk that is gravitationally disturbed, but not completely disrupted. There is one Lyman-break galaxy (BD29079) in the GN20 proto-cluster with an optical spectroscopic redshift within our search volume, and we set a 3σ limit to the molecular gas mass of this galaxy of 1.1 × 10^(10) × (α/0.8) M_⊙

    The faint counterparts of MAMBO mm sources near the NTT Deep Field

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    We discuss identifications for 18 sources from our MAMBO 1.2mm survey of the region surrounding the NTT Deep Field. We have obtained accurate positions from Very Large Array 1.4GHz interferometry and in a few cases IRAM mm interferometry, and have also made deep BVRIzJK imaging at ESO. We find thirteen 1.2mm sources associated with optical/near-infrared objects in the magnitude range K=19.0 to 22.5, while five are blank fields at K>22. The median redshift of the radio-identified mm sources is ~2.6 from the radio/mm estimator, and the median optical/near-infrared photometric redshifts for the objects with counterparts ~2.1. This suggests that those radio-identified mm sources without optical/near-infrared counterparts tend to lie at higher redshifts than those with optical/near-infrared counterparts. Compared to published identifications of objects from 850micron surveys of similar depth, the median K and I magnitudes of our counterparts are roughly two magnitudes fainter and the dispersion of I-K colors is less. Real differences in the median redshifts, residual mis-identifications with bright objects, cosmic variance, and small number statistics are likely to contribute to this significant difference, which also affects redshift measurement strategies. We discuss basic properties of the near-infrared/(sub)mm/radio spectral energy distributions of our galaxies and of interferometrically identified submm sources from the literature. From a comparison with submm objects with CO-confirmed spectroscopic redshifts we argue that roughly two thirds of the (sub)mm galaxies are at z>~2.5. This fraction is probably larger when including sources without radio counterparts. (abridged)Comment: 45 pages, 9 figures. Accepted by ApJ. The resolution of figures 2 and 3 has been degraded. A higher quality pdf version of this paper is available at http://www.mpe.mpg.de/~dannerb

    CO(1-0) line imaging of massive star-forming disc galaxies at z=1.5-2.2

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    We present detections of the CO(J= 1-0) emission line in a sample of four massive star-forming galaxies at z~1.5-2.2 obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). Combining these observations with previous CO(2-1) and CO(3-2) detections of these galaxies, we study the excitation properties of the molecular gas in our sample sources. We find an average line brightness temperature ratios of R_{21}=0.70+\-0.16 and R_{31}=0.50+\-0.29, based on measurements for three and two galaxies, respectively. These results provide additional support to previous indications of sub-thermal gas excitation for the CO(3-2) line with a typically assumed line ratio R_{31}~0.5. For one of our targets, BzK-21000, we present spatially resolved CO line maps. At the resolution of 0.18'' (1.5 kpc), most of the emission is resolved out except for some clumpy structure. From this, we attempt to identify molecular gas clumps in the data cube, finding 4 possible candidates. We estimate that <40 % of the molecular gas is confined to giant clumps (~1.5 kpc in size), and thus most of the gas could be distributed in small fainter clouds or in fairly diffuse extended regions of lower brightness temperatures than our sensitivity limit