The implications of the surprising existence of a large, massive CO disk in a distant protocluster [GA]

It has yet to be established whether the properties of the gas in distant protocluster galaxies are significantly affected by their environment as they are in galaxies in local clusters. Through a deep, 64 hours of effective on-source integration with the ATCA, we discovered a very massive, M_mol=2.0+-0.2×10^11 M_sun, very extended, ~40 kpc, CO(1-0)-emitting disk in the protocluster surrounding the radio galaxy, MRC1138-262. The galaxy, at a redshift z_CO=2.1478, is a clumpy massive disk galaxy, M_star~5×10^11 M_sun, which lies 300 kpc in projection from MRC1138-262 and is a known H-alpha emitter, HAE229. The bulk of the CO emission shows a kinematic gradient along the major axis of the disk, consistent with rotation. A significant fraction of the CO emission lies outside of the UV/optical emitting galaxy and the galaxy has a molecular gas fraction, f_mol~30%. HAE229 follows the relation of normal field star-forming galaxies between star-formation rate and molecular gas mass. HAE229 is the first CO(1-0) detection of an ordinary, star-forming galaxy in a high-redshift protocluster and only the third robust CO(1-0) detection of an H-alpha emitting galaxy in an high-z overdensity. We compare a sample of cluster members at z>0.4 that are detected in low-order CO transitions with a similar sample of sources drawn from the field. We confirm recent findings that the CO-luminosity and FWHM are correlated in dusty starbursts and show that this relation is valid for normal high-z galaxies as well as those in overdensities. We do not find a clear dichotomy in the integrated Schmidt-Kennicutt relation for protocluster and field galaxies. Not finding any environmental dependence in the molecular gas content or star-formation efficiency of galaxies, suggests that environmentally-specific processes such as ram pressure stripping are not operating efficiently in high-z (proto)clusters. (abridged)

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H. Dannerbauer, M. Lehnert, B. Emonts, et. al.
Fri, 20 Jan 17

Comments: Submitted to A&A. 14 pages, 8 figures and 4 tables. Comments are welcomed