A Caltech Library Service

Molecular Gas in a Submillimeter Galaxy at z = 4.5: Evidence for a Major Merger at 1 Billion Years after the Big Bang

Schinnerer, E. and Carilli, C. L. and Capak, P. and Martínez-Sansigre, A. and Scoville, N. Z. and Smolčić, V. and Taniguchi, Y. and Yun, M. S. and Bertoldi, F. and Le Fèvre, O. and de Ravel, L. (2008) Molecular Gas in a Submillimeter Galaxy at z = 4.5: Evidence for a Major Merger at 1 Billion Years after the Big Bang. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 689 (1). L5-L8. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1086/595680.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We report the detection of CO molecular line emission in the z = 4.5 millimeter-detected galaxy COSMOS J100054+023436 (hereafter J1000+0234) using the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer (PdBI) and NRAO's Very Large Array (VLA). The^12CO(4-3) line as observed with PdBI has a full line width of ~1000 km s^(−1), an integrated line flux of 0.66 Jy km s−1, and a CO luminosity of 3.2 × 10^10 L☉. Comparison to the 3.3 σ detection of the CO(2-1) line emission with the VLA suggests that the molecular gas is likely thermalized to the J = 4–3 transition level. The corresponding molecular gas mass is 2.6 × 10^(10) M☉ assuming an ULIRG-like conversion factor. From the spatial offset of the red- and blueshifted line peaks and the line width a dynamical mass of 1.1 × 10^(11) M☉ is estimated assuming a merging scenario. The molecular gas distribution coincides with the rest-frame optical and radio position of the object while being offset by 0.5" from the previously detected Lyα emission. J1000+0234 exhibits very typical properties for lower redshift (z ~ 2) submillimeter galaxies (SMGs) and thus is very likely one of the long sought after high-redshift (z > 4) objects of this population. The large CO(4-3) line width taken together with its highly disturbed rest-frame UV geometry suggest an ongoing major merger about a billion years after the big bang. Given its large star formation rate (SFR) of >1000 M☉ yr^(−1) and molecular gas content this object could be the precursor of a "red and dead" elliptical observed at a redshift of z = 2.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Schinnerer, E.0000-0002-3933-7677
Carilli, C. L.0000-0001-6647-3861
Capak, P.0000-0003-3578-6843
Scoville, N. Z.0000-0002-0438-3323
Smolčić, V.0000-0002-3893-8614
Taniguchi, Y.0000-0003-2247-3741
Yun, M. S.0000-0001-7095-7543
Bertoldi, F.0000-0002-1707-1775
Le Fèvre, O.0000-0001-5891-2596
Additional Information:© 2008. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2008 September 11; accepted 2008 October 13; published 2008 October 29. E. S. would like to thank J. M. Winter and R. Neri for their great help during the visit of IRAM, Grenoble. E. S. thanks A. Weiß and E. F. Bell for helpful discussions. E. S. acknowledges the hospitality of the Aspen Center for Physics where the manuscript was prepared. C. C. thanks the Max-Planck- Gesellschaft and the Humboldt-Stiftung for support through the Max-Planck-Forschungspreis. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Group:COSMOS, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:galaxies: formation, galaxies: high, redshift, galaxies: ISM, galaxies: starburst, submillimeter
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090723-092122606
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14649
Deposited On:12 Aug 2009 20:56
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:13

Repository Staff Only: item control page