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Published August 20, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

The First Hyper-luminous Infrared Galaxy Discovered by WISE


We report the discovery by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) of the z = 2.452 source WISE J181417.29+341224.9, the first hyperluminous source found in the WISE survey. WISE 1814+3412 is also the prototype for an all-sky sample of ∼1000 extremely luminous "W1W2-dropouts" (sources faint or undetected by WISE at 3.4 and 4.6 μm and well detected at 12 or 22 μm). The WISE data and a 350 μm detection give a minimum bolometric luminosity of 3.7 × 1013L, with ∼1014L plausible. Follow-up images reveal four nearby sources: a QSO and two Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) at z = 2.45, and an M dwarf star. The brighter LBG dominates the bolometric emission. Gravitational lensing is unlikely given the source locations and their different spectra and colors. The dominant LBG spectrum indicates a star formation rate ∼300 M yr−1, accounting for ≲ 10% of the bolometric luminosity. Strong 22 μm emission relative to 350 μm implies that warm dust contributes significantly to the luminosity, while cooler dust normally associated with starbursts is constrained by an upper limit at 1.1 mm. Radio emission is ∼10 times above the far-infrared/radio correlation, indicating an active galactic nucleus (AGN) is present. An obscured AGN combined with starburst and evolved stellar components can account for the observations. If the black hole mass follows the local MBH–bulge mass relation, the implied Eddington ratio is ≳ 4. WISE 1814+3412 may be a heavily obscured object where the peak AGN activity occurred prior to the peak era of star formation.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 January 14; accepted 2012 June 22; published 2012 August 7. The authors thank Alex Pope for insightful discussions regarding the dust content of WISE 1814+3412; Alice Shapley for assistance in determining the star formation rate associated with a Lyman break galaxy; R. S. McMillan, J. V. Scotti, J. A. Larsen, and G. J. Bechetti for early ground-based followup observations; Conor Mancone for providing and answering questions about the convenient "Ez_Gal" Web interface to the Bruzual-Charlot models; Leonidas Moustakas for suggesting references on the mass of L∗ galaxies; Jeonghee Rho for allowing observations of WISE 1814+3412 during her CSO time; and Tom Soifer for allocating Spitzer Director's Discretionary Time to observe WISE 1814+3412; and the anonymous referee for suggestions which improved the presentation of the paper. R.J.A. and J.W. were supported by an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. N.J.E. acknowledges support from NSF Grant AST-1109116. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under contract with NASA. Some of the data presented here were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among Caltech, the University of California and NASA. The Keck Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of theW. M. Keck Foundation. Some of the data are based on observations obtained at the Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory as part of a continuing collaboration between the California Institute of Technology, NASA/JPL, and Cornell University. Some of the data presented here were obtained at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Facilities: WISE, Spitzer (IRAC) (MIPS), Hale (WIRC) (LFC),Keck:I (LRIS),Keck:II (NIRC2), Mayall (Mosaic), CSO (SHARC II) (Bolocam), EVLA, GBT

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