CO excitation of normal star forming galaxies out to z=1.5 as regulated by the properties of their interstellar medium

Daddi, E, Dannerbauer, H, Liu, D, Aravena, M, Bournaud, F, Walter, F, Riechers, D, Magdis, G, Sargent, M, Béthermin, M, Carilli, C, Cibinel, A, Dickinson, M, Elbaz, D, Gao, Y, Gobat, R, Hodge, J and Krips, M (2015) CO excitation of normal star forming galaxies out to z=1.5 as regulated by the properties of their interstellar medium. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 577. A46. ISSN 0004-6361

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We investigate the CO excitation of normal star forming galaxies at z=1.5 using IRAM PdBI observations of the CO[2-1], CO[3-2] and CO[5-4] transitions for 4 galaxies, and VLA observations of CO[1-0] for 3 of them, measuring reliable line fluxes with S/N>4-7 for individual transitions. While the average CO Spectral Line Energy Distribution (SLED) has a sub-thermal excitation similar to the Milky Way (MW) up to CO[3-2], we show that the average CO[5-4] emission is 4 times stronger than assuming MW excitation. This demonstrates the presence of an additional component of more excited, denser and possibly warmer molecular gas. The ratio of CO[5-4] to lower-J CO emission is however lower than in local (U)LIRGs and high-redshift starbursting SMGs, and appears to correlate closely with the average intensity of the radiation field <U> and with the star formation surface density, but not with SF efficiency (SFE). This suggests that the overall CO excitation is at least indirectly affected by the metallicity of the ISM. The luminosity of the CO[5-4] transition is found to correlate linearly with the bolometric infrared luminosity over 4 orders of magnitudes, with BzK galaxies following the same linear trend as local spirals and (U)LIRGs and high redshift star bursting sub-millimeter galaxies. The CO[5-4] luminosity is thus related to the dense gas, and might be a more convenient way to probe it than standard high--density tracers. We see excitation variations among our sample galaxies, linked to their evolutionary state and clumpiness in optical rest frame images. In one galaxy we see spatially resolved excitation variations, the more highly excited part corresponds to the location of massive SF clumps. This provides support to models that suggest that giant clumps are the main source of the high excitation CO emission in high redshift disk-like galaxies.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Depositing User: Mark Sargent
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2015 09:19
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:35

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