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Published September 1, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Submillimeter Follow-up of WISE-selected Hyperluminous Galaxies


We have used the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) to follow-up a sample of Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) selected, hyperluminous galaxies, the so-called W1W2-dropout galaxies. This is a rare (∼1000 all-sky) population of galaxies at high redshift (peaks at z = 2–3), which are faint or undetected by WISE at 3.4 and 4.6 μm, yet are clearly detected at 12 and 22 μm. The optical spectra of most of these galaxies show significant active galactic nucleus activity. We observed 14 high-redshift (z > 1.7) W1W2-dropout galaxies with SHARC-II at 350–850 μm, with nine detections, and observed 18 with Bolocam at 1.1 mm, with five detections. Warm Spitzer follow-up of 25 targets at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, as well as optical spectra of 12 targets, are also presented in the paper. Combining WISE data with observations from warm Spitzer and CSO, we constructed their mid-IR to millimeter spectral energy distributions (SEDs). These SEDs have a consistent shape, showing significantly higher mid-IR to submillimeter ratios than other galaxy templates, suggesting a hotter dust temperature. We estimate their dust temperatures to be 60–120 K using a single-temperature model. Their infrared luminosities are well over 1013L. These SEDs are not well fitted with existing galaxy templates, suggesting they are a new population with very high luminosity and hot dust. They are likely among the most luminous galaxies in the universe. We argue that they are extreme cases of luminous, hot dust-obscured galaxies (DOGs), possibly representing a short evolutionary phase during galaxy merging and evolution. A better understanding of their long-wavelength properties needs ALMA as well as Herschel data.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 March 14; accepted 2012 June 29; published 2012 August 20. J.W. and R.A. 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.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 on observations made with the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology under funding from the National Science Foundation, contract AST 90-15755. This work uses data obtained from 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 herein 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 the W. M. Keck Foundation. Some data reported here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution. This paper uses data from SDSS (DR 8). Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III Web site is http://www.sdss3.org/.

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