We present a study using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of 12CO J = 1-0 emission in three strongly lensed submillimetre-selected galaxies (SMMJ16359, SMMJ14009 and SMMJ02399) at z = 2.5-2.9. These galaxies span LIR = 1011-1013L⊙, offering an opportunity to compare the interstellar medium of luminous infrared galaxies and ultraluminous infrared galaxies at high redshift. We estimate molecular gas masses in the range of 2-40 × 109M⊙ using a method that assumes canonical underlying brightness temperature (Tb) ratios for star-forming and non-star-forming gas phases and a maximal star formation efficiency. A more simplistic method - using XCO = 0.8 and the measured Tb ratios - yields gas masses twice as high. In SMMJ14009 we find L CO 3-2′/L CO 1-0′=0.95±0.12, indicative of warm, star-forming gas, possibly influenced by the central active galactic nucleus (AGN). We set a gas mass limit of 3σ < 6 × 108M⊙ for the Lyman break galaxy, A2218 #384, located in the same field as SMMJ16359 at z = 2.515. Finally, we use the rest-frame ∼115GHz free-free flux densities for SMMJ14009 and SMMJ02399 - measurements tied directly to the photoionization rate of massive stars, and made possible by VLA's bandwidth - to estimate star formation rates (SFRs) of 400-600M⊙yr-1 and to estimate the fraction of LIR due to AGN.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science