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400 pc Imaging of a Massive Quasar Host Galaxy at a Redshift of 6.6

Venemans, Bram P. and Neeleman, Marcel and Walter, Fabian and Novak, Mladen and Decarli, Roberto and Hennawi, Joseph F. and Rix, Hans-Walter (2019) 400 pc Imaging of a Massive Quasar Host Galaxy at a Redshift of 6.6. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 874 (2). Art. No. L30. ISSN 2041-8213. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab11cc.

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We report high spatial resolution (~0farcs076, 410 pc) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array imaging of the dust continuum and the ionized carbon line [C ii] in a luminous quasar host galaxy at z = 6.6, 800 million years after the big bang. Based on previous studies, this galaxy hosts a ~1 × 10^9 M_⊙ black hole and has a star formation rate of ~1500 M_⊙ yr^(−1). The unprecedented high resolution of the observations reveals a complex morphology of gas within 3 kpc of the accreting central black hole. The gas has a high velocity dispersion with little ordered motion along the line of sight, as would be expected from gas accretion that has yet to settle in a disk. In addition, we find the presence of [C ii] cavities in the gas distribution (with diameters of ~0.5 kpc), offset from the central black hole. This unique distribution and kinematics cannot be explained by a simple model. Plausible scenarios are that the gas is located in a truncated or warped disk, or the holes are created by interactions with nearby galaxies or due to energy injection into the gas. In the latter case, the energy required to form the cavities must originate from the central active galactic nucleus, as the required energy far exceeds the energy output expected from supernovae. This energy input into the gas, however, does not inhibit the high rate of star formation. Both star formation and black hole activity could have been triggered by interactions with satellite galaxies; our data reveal three additional companions detected in [C ii] emission around the quasar.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Venemans, Bram P.0000-0001-9024-8322
Neeleman, Marcel0000-0002-9838-8191
Walter, Fabian0000-0003-4793-7880
Novak, Mladen0000-0001-8695-825X
Decarli, Roberto0000-0002-2662-8803
Hennawi, Joseph F.0000-0002-7054-4332
Rix, Hans-Walter0000-0003-4996-9069
Additional Information:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 February 19; revised 2019 March 20; accepted 2019 March 20; published 2019 April 5. B.P.V., M.N., and F.W. acknowledge funding through the ERC grant "Cosmic Gas." This paper makes use of the following ALMA data: ADS/JAO.ALMA#2017.1.01532.S. ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), and NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO, and NAOJ. Facility: ALMA. -
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)Cosmic Gas
Subject Keywords:cosmology: observations; galaxies: active; galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: star formation; quasars: individual (VIK J030516.92–315056)
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190405-094702146
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bram P. Venemans et al 2019 ApJL 874 L30
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94498
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Apr 2019 17:00
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:05

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