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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Frayer, D.T., Maddalena, R.J., Ivison, R.J., Smail, I., Blain, A.W. & Vanden Bout, P. (2018). The Discovery of a New Massive Molecular Gas Component Associated with the Submillimeter Galaxy SMM J02399-0136. Astrophysical journal 860(2): 87.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

We present CO(1–0), CO(3–2), and CO(7–6) observations using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) of the z = 2.8 submillimeter galaxy SMM J02399−0136. This was the first submillimeter-selected galaxy discovered and remains an archetype of the class, comprising a merger of several massive and active components, including a quasar-luminosity AGN and a highly obscured, gas-rich starburst spread over a ~25 kpc extent. The GBT CO(1–0) line profile is comprised of two distinct velocity components separated by about 600 km s−1 and suggests the presence of a new component of molecular gas that had not been previously identified. The CO(3–2) observations with ALMA show that this new component, designated W1, is associated with a large extended structure stretching 13 kpc westward from the AGN. W1 is not detected in the ALMA CO(7–6) data, implying that this gas has much lower CO excitation than the central starburst regions, which are bright in CO(7–6). The molecular gas mass of W1 is about 30% of the total molecular gas mass in the system, depending on the CO-to-H2 conversion factor. W1 is arguably a merger remnant; alternatively, it could be a massive molecular outflow associated with the AGN, or perhaps inflowing metal-enriched molecular gas fueling the ongoing activity.