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Mapping the clumpy structures within submillimeter galaxies using laser-guide star adaptive optics spectroscopy

Menéndez-Delmestre, K.; Blain, A.W.; Swinbank, M.; Smail, I.; Ivison, R.J.; Chapman, S.C.; Gonçalves, T.S.

Mapping the clumpy structures within submillimeter galaxies using laser-guide star adaptive optics spectroscopy Thumbnail


K. Menéndez-Delmestre

A.W. Blain

R.J. Ivison

S.C. Chapman

T.S. Gonçalves


We present the first integral-field spectroscopic observations of high-redshift submillimeter-selected galaxies (SMGs) using Laser-Guide Star Adaptive Optics. We target Hα emission of three SMGs at redshifts z ~ 1.4-2.4 with the OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph on Keck. The spatially resolved spectroscopy of these galaxies reveals unresolved broad-Hα line regions (FWHM >1000 km s-1) likely associated with an active galactic nucleus (AGN) and regions of diffuse star formation traced by narrow-line Hα emission (FWHM lsim 500 km s-1) dominated by multiple Hα-bright stellar clumps, each contributing 1%-30% of the total clump-integrated Hα emission. We find that these SMGs host high star formation rate surface densities, similar to local extreme sources, such as circumnuclear starbursts and luminous infrared galaxies. However, in contrast to these local environments, SMGs appear to be undergoing such intense activity on significantly larger spatial scales as revealed by extended Hα emission over 4-16 kpc. Hα kinematics show no evidence of ordered global motion as would be found in a disk, but rather large velocity offsets (~few × 100 km s-1) between the distinct stellar clumps. Together with the asymmetric distribution of the stellar clumps around the AGN in these objects, it is unlikely that we are unveiling a clumpy disk structure as has been suggested in other high-redshift populations of star-forming galaxies. The SMG clumps in this sample may correspond to remnants of originally independent gas-rich systems that are in the process of merging, hence triggering the ultraluminous SMG phase.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2013
Deposit Date May 10, 2013
Publicly Available Date Sep 5, 2013
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 767
Issue 1
Article Number 151
Keywords Galaxies, High-redshift, Nuclei, Starburst, Kinematics and dynamics, Submillimeter, Imaging spectroscopy.
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Published Journal Article (1.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

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