SMM J04135+10277: a distant QSO-starburst system caught by ALMA
Journal article, 2020

The gas content of galaxies is a key factor for their growth, starting from star formation and black hole accretion to galaxy mergers. Thus, characterizing its properties through observations of tracers like the CO emission line is of big importance in order to understand the bigger picture of galaxy evolution. We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations of dust continuum, CO(5-4) and CO(8-7) line emission in the quasar-star-forming companion system SMM J04135+10277 (z = 2.84). Earlier low-J CO studies of this system found a huge molecular gas reservoir associated with the companion galaxy, while the quasar appeared gas-poor. Our CO observations revealed that the host galaxy of the quasar is also gas-rich, with an estimated molecular gas mass of ∼ (0.7-2.3)× 10^{10} M_{☉}. The CO line profiles of the companion galaxy are very broad (∼ 1000 km s^{-1}), and show signs of rotation of a compact, massive system. In contrast to previous far-infrared observations, we resolve the continuum emission and detect both sources, with the companion galaxy dominating the dust continuum and the quasar having a ∼ 25{{ per cent}} contribution to the total dust emission. By fitting the infrared spectral energy distribution of the sources with MR-MOOSE and empirical templates, the infrared luminosities of the quasar and the companion are in the range of L_{IR, QSO}∼ (2.1-9.6)× 10^{12} L_{☉} and L_{IR, Comp.}∼ (2.4-24)× 10^{12} L_{☉}, while the estimated star formation rates are ∼ 210-960 and ∼ 240-2400 M_{☉} yr^{-1}, respectively. Our results demonstrate that non-detection of low-J CO transition lines in similar sources does not necessarily imply the absence of massive molecular gas reservoir but that the excitation conditions favour the excitation of high-J transitions.

galaxies: evolution

submillimetre: galaxies

galaxies: high-redshift

galaxies: starburst

galaxies: individual: SMM J04135+10277

Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies

galaxies: active


Judit Fogasy

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics, Extragalactic Astrophysics

Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics, Extragalactic Astrophysics

Guillaume Drouart

Curtin University

C. D. P. Lagos

University of Western Australia

Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN)

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

Lulu Fan

University of Science and Technology of China

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

0035-8711 (ISSN) 1365-2966 (eISSN)

Vol. 493 3 3744-3756

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Basic sciences



More information

Latest update

6/3/2020 2