A compact starburst core in the dusty Lyman break galaxy Westphal-MD11

Andrew J. Baker, Linda J. Tacconi, Reinhard Genzel, Dieter Lutz, Matthew D. Lehnert

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Using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, we have searched for CO (3-2) emission from the dusty Lyman break galaxy Westphal-MD11 at z = 2.98. Our sensitive upper limit is surprisingly low relative to the system's 850 μm flux density and implies a far-IR/CO luminosity ratio as elevated as those seen in local ultraluminous mergers. We conclude that the observed dust emission must originate in a compact structure radiating near its blackbody limit and that a relatively modest molecular gas reservoir must be fueling an intense nuclear starburst (and/or deeply buried active nucleus) that may have been triggered by a major merger. In this regard, Westphal-MD11 contrasts strikingly with the lensed Lyman break galaxy MS 1512-cB58, which is being observed apparently midway through an extended episode of more quiescent disk star formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L113-L116
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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