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The formation of submillimetre-bright galaxies from gas infall over a billion years

Narayanan, Desika and Turk, Matthew and Feldmann, Robert and Robitaille, Thomas and Hopkins, Philip and Thompson, Robert and Hayward, Christopher and Ball, David and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Kereš, Dušan (2015) The formation of submillimetre-bright galaxies from gas infall over a billion years. Nature, 525 (7570). pp. 496-499. ISSN 0028-0836.

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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 1: Mass of reservoir gas in the central galaxy that will be consumed during SMG starburst as a function of z) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 2: Distribution of flux density ratio of brightest component in submillimetre-luminous region to total flux density) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 3: Gas surface density for the central submillimetre galaxy) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 4: Molecular gas fraction as a function of galaxy stellar mass) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 5: Predicted spectral energy distribution (SED) for the central submillimetre galaxy) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 6: Overestimate of the SFR of high-z SMGs) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 7: Resolution tests for hydrodynamic zoom simulations) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 8: Stellar mass–redshift relation for the model galaxy) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 9: Tests of parameter choices for radiative transfer calculations) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Table 1: Summary of model galaxies) - Supplemental Material
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Submillimetre-bright galaxies at high redshift are the most luminous, heavily star-forming galaxies in the Universe and are characterized by prodigious emission in the far-infrared, with a flux of at least five millijanskys at a wavelength of 850 micrometres. They reside in haloes with masses about 10^(13) times that of the Sun, have low gas fractions compared to main-sequence disks at a comparable redshift, trace complex environments and are not easily observable at optical wavelengths. Their physical origin remains unclear. Simulations have been able to form galaxies with the requisite luminosities, but have otherwise been unable to simultaneously match the stellar masses, star formation rates, gas fractions and environments. Here we report a cosmological hydrodynamic galaxy formation simulation that is able to form a submillimetre galaxy that simultaneously satisfies the broad range of observed physical constraints. We find that groups of galaxies residing in massive dark matter haloes have increasing rates of star formation that peak at collective rates of about 500–1,000 solar masses per year at redshifts of two to three, by which time the interstellar medium is sufficiently enriched with metals that the region may be observed as a submillimetre-selected system. The intense star formation rates are fuelled in part by the infall of a reservoir gas supply enabled by stellar feedback at earlier times, not through major mergers. With a lifetime of nearly a billion years, our simulations show that the submillimetre-bright phase of high-redshift galaxies is prolonged and associated with significant mass buildup in early-Universe proto-clusters, and that many submillimetre-bright galaxies are composed of numerous unresolved components (for which there is some observational evidence).

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper InNature: News & Views ItemPOWDERDAY ItemGIZMO
Narayanan, Desika0000-0002-7064-4309
Feldmann, Robert0000-0002-1109-1919
Robitaille, Thomas0000-0002-8642-1329
Hopkins, Philip0000-0003-3729-1684
Hayward, Christopher0000-0003-4073-3236
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Additional Information:© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 25 October 2014; Accepted 31 July 2015; Published online 23 September 2015. We thank M. J. Michałowski for providing observational data. Partial support for D.N. was provided by NSF AST-1009452, AST-1442650, NASA HST AR-13906.001 and a Cottrell College Science Award. P.H., C.H., M.T. and R.T. were funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF4561 and grant no. 776). P.H. acknowledges the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for support. C.-A.F.-G. was supported by NASA awards PF3-140106, NNX15AB22G and NSF AST-1412836. D.K. was supported by NSF AST-1412153. R.F. was supported by NASA HF-51304.01-A, and is a Hubble fellow. The simulations here were run on Stampede at TACC through NSF XSEDE allocations TG-AST120025, TG-AST130039 and TG-AST140023, NASA Pleiades, and the Haverford College cluster. Contributions: D.N. wrote the text, and led the radiative transfer simulations and analysis. D.N., M.T., T.R. and R.T. wrote the POWDERDAY software. R.T., C.H. and D.B. contributed to simulation analysis, and R.F., P.H., C.-A.F.-G. and D.K. performed the cosmological simulations. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASAHST AR-13906.001
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF4561
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation776
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF3-140106
NASA Hubble FellowshipHF-51304.01-A
Issue or Number:7570
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150729-091600504
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:59051
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 Sep 2015 21:56
Last Modified:24 Apr 2020 18:17

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