Friday, July 19, 2013

1307.4763 (J. A. Hodge et al.)

High-resolution spectroscopic imaging of CO in a z=4.05 proto-cluster    [PDF]

J. A. Hodge, C. L. Carilli, F. Walter, E. Daddi, D. Riechers
We present a study of the formation of clustered, massive galaxies at large look-back times via spectroscopic imaging of CO in the unique GN20 proto-cluster at z = 4.05. Existing observations show that this is a dense concentration of gas-rich, very active star forming galaxies, including multiple bright submillimeter galaxies (SMGs). Using deep, high-resolution VLA CO(2-1) observations, we image the molecular gas with a resolution of ~1 kpc just 1.6 Gyr after the Big Bang. The SMGs GN20.2a and GN20.2b have deconvolved sizes of ~5 kpc X 3 kpc and ~8 kpc X 5 kpc (Gaussian FWHM) in CO(2-1), respectively, and we measure gas surface densities up to ~12,700/1,700X(sin i) (\alpha_CO/0.8) M_sun/pc^2 for GN20.2a/GN20.2b in the highest-resolution maps. Dynamical mass estimates allow us to constrain the CO-to-H_2 conversion factor to \alpha_CO = 1.7+/-0.8 M_sun (K km s^{-1} pc^2)^-1 for GN20.2a and \alpha_CO = 1.1+/-^{1.5}_{1.1} M_sun (K km/s pc^2)^-1 for GN20.2b. We measure significant offsets (0.5"-1") between the CO and optical emission, indicating either dust obscuration on scales of tens of kpc or that the emission originates from distinct galaxies. CO spectral line energy distributions imply physical conditions comparable to other SMGs and reveal further evidence that GN20.2a and GN20.2b are in different merging stages. We carry out a targeted search for CO emission from the 14 known B-band Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) in the field, tentatively detecting CO in a previously-undetected LBG and placing 3sigma upper limits on the CO luminosities of those that may lie within our bandpass. A blind search for emission line sources down to a 5sigma limiting CO luminosity of L'_CO(2-1) = 8 X 10^9 K km/s pc^2 and covering \Delta z = 0.0273 (~20 comoving Mpc) produces no other strong contenders associated with the proto-cluster.
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