High-resolution Imaging of PHIBSS z sim 2 Main-sequence Galaxies in CO J = 1 rarr 0

A. D. Bolatto, S. R. Warren, A. K. Leroy, L. J. Tacconi, N. Bouché, N. M. Förster Schreiber, R. Genzel, M. C. Cooper, D. B. Fisher, F. Combes, S. García-Burillo, A. Burkert, F. Bournaud, A. Weiss, A. Saintonge, S. Wuyts, A. Sternberg

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We present Karl Jansky Very Large Array observations of the CO $J=1-0$ transition in a sample of four $z\sim 2$ main-sequence galaxies. These galaxies are in the blue sequence of star-forming galaxies at their redshift, and are part of the IRAM Plateau de Bure HIgh-z Blue Sequence Survey which imaged them in CO $J=3-2$. Two galaxies are imaged here at high signal-to-noise, allowing determinations of their disk sizes, line profiles, molecular surface densities, and excitation. Using these and published measurements, we show that the CO and optical disks have similar sizes in main-sequence galaxies, and in the galaxy where we can compare CO $J=1-0$ and $J=3-2$ sizes we find these are also very similar. Assuming a Galactic CO-to-H2 conversion, we measure surface densities of ${{\rm{\Sigma }}}_{\mathrm{mol}}\sim 1200$ ${M}_{\odot }$ pc−2 in projection and estimate ${{\rm{\Sigma }}}_{\mathrm{mol}}$~ 500–900 ${M}_{\odot }$ pc−2 deprojected. Finally, our data yields velocity-integrated Rayleigh–Jeans brightness temperature line ratios r31 that are approximately at unity. In addition to the similar disk sizes, the very similar line profiles in $J=1-0$ and $J=3-2$ indicate that both transitions sample the same kinematics, implying that their emission is coextensive. We conclude that in these two main-sequence galaxies there is no evidence for significant excitation gradients or a large molecular reservoir that is diffuse or cold and not involved in active star formation. We suggest that r31 in very actively star-forming galaxies is likely an indicator of how well-mixed the star formation activity and the molecular reservoir are.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175 - 175
Number of pages1
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2015


  • galaxies: evolution, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: ISM, ISM: molecules


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