Molecular and Ionized Gas Phases of an AGN-driven Outflow in a Typical Massive Galaxy at z ≈ 2

R. Herrera-Camus, L. Tacconi, R. Genzel, N. Förster Schreiber, D. Lutz, A. Bolatto, S. Wuyts, A. Renzini, S. Lilly, S. Belli, H. Übler, T. Shimizu, E. Sturm, F. Combes, J. Freundlich, S. García-Burillo, P. Cox, A. Burkert, T. Naab, L. ColinaA. Saintonge, M. Cooper, C. Feruglio, A. Weiss

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Nuclear outflows driven by accreting massive black holes are one of the main feedback mechanisms invoked at high-z to reproduce the distinct separation between star-forming disk galaxies and quiescent spheroidal systems. Yet our knowledge of feedback at high-z remains limited by the lack of observations of the multiple gas phases in galaxy outflows. In this work, we use new deep, high spatial resolution ALMA CO(3–2) and archival Very Large Telescope/SINFONI Hα observations to study the molecular and ionized components of the active galactic nucleus (AGN)–driven outflow in zC400528, a massive main-sequence galaxy at z = 2.3 in the process of quenching. We detect a powerful molecular outflow that shows a positive velocity gradient before a turnover and extends for at least ~10 kpc from the nuclear region, about three times the projected size of the ionized wind. The molecular gas in the outflow does not reach velocities high enough to escape the galaxy and is therefore expected to be reaccreted. Keeping in mind the various assumptions involved in the analysis, we find that the mass and energetics of the outflow are dominated by the molecular phase. The AGN-driven outflow in zC400528 is powerful enough to deplete the molecular gas reservoir on a timescale comparable to that needed to exhaust it by star formation. This suggests that the nuclear outflow is one of the main quenching engines at work in the observed suppression of the central star formation activity in zC400528.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2019


  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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