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Published June 10, 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Molecular Gas in the z = 1.2 Ultraluminous Merger GOODS J123634.53+621241.3


We report the detection of CO(2→1) emission from the z = 1.2 ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) GOODS J123634.53+621241.3 (also known as the submillimeter galaxy GN 26). These observations represent the first discovery of high-redshift CO emission using the new Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA). Of all high-redshift (z > 1) galaxies within the GOODS-North field, this source has the largest far-infrared (FIR) flux observed in the Spitzer 70 and 160 mm bands. The CO redshift confirms the optical identification of the source, and the bright CO(2→1) line suggests the presence of a large molecular gas reservoir of about 7 x 10^10 M☉. The infrared-to-CO luminosity ratio of L(IR)/L'(CO) p 80±30 L☉ (K km s^-1 pc^2)^-1 is slightly smaller than the average ratio found in local ULIRGs and high-redshift submillimeter galaxies. The short star formation timescale of about 70 Myr is consistent with a starburst associated with the merger event and is much shorter than the timescales for spiral galaxies and estimates made for high-redshift galaxies selected on the basis of their B-z and z-K colors.

Additional Information

© 2008. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2008 February 29; accepted 2008 May 2; published 2008 May 19. Support for CARMA construction was derived from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the Associates of the California Institute of Technology, the states of California, Illinois, and Maryland, and the National Science Foundation. Ongoing CARMA development and operations are supported by the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement, and by the CARMA partner universities. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope and has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), both of which are operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. The optical image was obtained from the Multimission Archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute (MAST).

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