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An ALMA survey of submillimetre galaxies in the COSMOS field: The extent of the radio-emitting region revealed by 3 GHz imaging with the Very Large Array

Miettinen, O. and Capak, P. L. (2017) An ALMA survey of submillimetre galaxies in the COSMOS field: The extent of the radio-emitting region revealed by 3 GHz imaging with the Very Large Array. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 602 . Art. No. A54. ISSN 0004-6361. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201730443.

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Context. The observed spatial scale of the radio continuum emission from star-forming galaxies can be used to investigate the spatial extent of active star formation, constrain the importance of cosmic-ray transport, and examine the effects of galaxy interactions. Aims. We determine the radio size distribution of a large sample of 152 submillimetre galaxies (SMGs) in the COSMOS field that were pre-selected at 1.1 mm, and later detected with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) in the observed-frame 1.3 mm dust continuum emission at a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of ≥5. Methods. We used the deep, subarcsecond-resolution (1σ = 2.3μJy beam^(-1); .̋ 75) centimetre radio continuum observations taken by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA)-COSMOS 3 GHz Large Project. Results. One hundred and fifteen of the 152 target SMGs (76% ± 7%) were found to have a 3 GHz counterpart (≥ 4.2σ), which renders the radio detection rate notably high. The median value of the deconvolved major axis full width at half maximum (FWHM) size at 3 GHz is derived to be 0.̋59 ± 0.̋05 , or 4.6 ± 0.4 kpc in physical units, where the median redshift of the sources is z = 2.23 ± 0.13 (23% are spectroscopic and 77% are photometric values). The radio sizes are roughly log-normally distributed, and they show no evolutionary trend with redshift, or difference between different galaxy morphologies. We also derived the spectral indices between 1.4 and 3 GHz, and 3 GHz brightness temperatures for the sources, and the median values were found to be α_(1.4 GHz)^(3 GHz) = -0.67 (S_ν ∝ ν^α) and T_B = 12.6 ± 2 K. Three of the target SMGs, which are also detected with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) at 1.4 GHz (AzTEC/C24b, 61, and 77a), show clearly higher brightness temperatures than the typical values, reaching T_B(3 GHz) > 10^(4.03) K for AzTEC/C61. Conclusions. The derived median radio spectral index agrees with a value expected for optically thin non-thermal synchrotron radiation, and the low median 3 GHz brightness temperature shows that the observed radio emission is predominantly powered by star formation and supernova activity. However, our results provide a strong indication of the presence of an active galactic nucleus in the VLBA and X-ray-detected SMG AzTEC/C61 (high TB and an inverted radio spectrum). The median radio-emitting size we have derived is ~ 1.5–3 times larger than the typical far-infrared dust-emitting sizes of SMGs, but similar to that of the SMGs’ molecular gas component traced through mid-J line emission of carbon monoxide. The physical conditions of SMGs probably render the diffusion of cosmic-ray electrons inefficient, and hence an unlikely process to lead to the observed extended radio sizes. Instead, our results point towards a scenario where SMGs are driven by galaxy interactions and mergers. Besides triggering vigorous starbursts, galaxy collisions can also pull out the magnetised fluids from the interacting disks, and give rise to a taffy-like synchrotron-emitting bridge. This provides an explanation for the spatially extended radio emission of SMGs, and can also cause a deviation from the well-known infrared-radio correlation owing to an excess radio emission. Nevertheless, further high-resolution observations are required to examine the other potential reasons for the very compact dust-emitting sizes of SMGs, such as the radial dust temperature and metallicity gradients.

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Capak, P. L.0000-0003-3578-6843
Additional Information:© 2017 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 16 January 2017; Accepted 16 February 2017; Published online 09 June 2017. Based on observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. We appreciate the exceptionally constructive and positive feedback from the referee. This research was funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme under grant agreement 337595 (ERC Starting Grant, “CoSMass”). M.A. acknowledges partial support from FONDE-CYT through grant 1140099. A.K. acknowledges support by the Collaborative Research Council 956, sub-project A1, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). E.S. acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 694343). D.R. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation under grant number AST-1614213 to Cornell University. This work was performed in part at the Aspen Center for Physics, which is supported by National Science Foundation grant PHY-1066293. This work was partially supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation. The Flatiron Institute is supported by the Simons Foundation. This paper makes use of the following ALMA data: ADS/JAO.ALMA#2012.1.00978.S and ADS/JAO.ALMA#2013.1.00118.S. ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System, and the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the JPL, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the NASA. This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013). We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the entire COSMOS collaboration consisting of more than 100 scientists. More information on the COSMOS survey is available at
Group:COSMOS, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)337595
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1140099
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)956
European Research Council (ERC)694343
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution – galaxies: formation – galaxies: starburst – galaxies: star formation – radio continuum: galaxies – submillimeter: galaxies
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170928-135012692
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:An ALMA survey of submillimetre galaxies in the COSMOS field: The extent of the radio-emitting region revealed by 3 GHz imaging with the Very Large Array O. Miettinen, M. Novak, V. Smolčić, I. Delvecchio, M. Aravena, D. Brisbin, A. Karim, E. J. Murphy, E. Schinnerer, M. Albrecht, H. Aussel, F. Bertoldi, P. L. Capak, C. M. Casey, F. Civano, C. C. Hayward, N. Herrera Ruiz, O. Ilbert, C. Jiang, C. Laigle, O. Le Fèvre, B. Magnelli, S. Marchesi, H. J. McCracken, E. Middelberg, A. M. Muñoz Arancibia, F. Navarrete, N. D. Padilla, D. A. Riechers, M. Salvato, K. S. Scott, K. Sheth, L. A. M. Tasca, M. Bondi and G. Zamorani A&A, 602 (2017) A54 DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81904
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Sep 2017 21:00
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:46

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