An ALMA survey of CO in submillimetre galaxies: Companions, triggering, and the environment in blended sources
Journal article, 2018

We present ALMA observations of the mid-J 12CO emission from six single-dish selected 870-μm sources in the Extended Chandra Deep Field-South and UKIDSS Ultra-Deep Survey fields. These six single-dish submillimetre sources were selected based on previous ALMA continuum observations, which showed that each comprised a blend of emission from two or more individual submillimetre galaxies (SMGs), separated on 5-10 arcsec scales. The six single-dish submillimetre sources targeted correspond to a total of 14 individual SMGs, of which seven have previously measured robust optical/near-infrared spectroscopic redshifts, which were used to tune our ALMA observations.We detect CO(3-2) or CO(4-3) at z = 2.3- 3.7 in 7 of the 14 SMGs, and in addition serendipitously detect line emission from three gas-rich companion galaxies, as well as identify four new 3.3 mm selected continuum sources in the six fields. Joint analysis of ourCOspectroscopy and existing data suggests that 64(±18) per cent of the SMGs in blended submillimetre sources are unlikely to be physically associated. However, three of the SMG fields (50 per cent) contain new, serendipitously detected CO-emitting (but submillimetre-faint) sources at similar redshifts to the 870 μm selected SMGs we targeted. These data suggest that the SMGs inhabit overdense regions, but that these are not sufficiently overdense on ∼100 kpc scales to influence the source blending given the short lifetimes of SMGs. We find that 21 ± 12 per cent of SMGs have spatially distinct and kinematically close companion galaxies (∼8-150 kpc and ≲ 300 km s-1), which may have enhanced their star formation via gravitational interactions.

Galaxies: evolution

Galaxies: ism

Submillimetre: galaxies


J. L. Wardlow

Durham University

J. M. Simpson

Academia Sinica

I. Smail

Durham University

A.M. Swinbank

Durham University

A. Blain

University Of Leicester

W. N. Brandt

Pennsylvania State University

S. C. Chapman

Dalhousie University

C. C. Chen

European Southern Observatory (ESO)

E. A. Cooke

Durham University

H. Dannerbauer

University of La Laguna

Instituto Astrofisico de Canarias

B. Gullberg

Durham University

J. Hodge

Leiden University

R. J. Ivison

European Southern Observatory (ESO)

University of Edinburgh

Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen

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

D. Scott

University of British Columbia (UBC)

A. P. Thomson

Durham University

University of Manchester

A. Weiß

Max Planck Society

P. van der Werf

Leiden University

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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

Vol. 479 3 3879-3891

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics



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