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Cibinel, A.; Daddi, E.; Bournaud, F.; Sargent, M. T.; Floc'h, E. le; Magdis, G. E.; Pannella, M.; Rujopakarn, W.; Juneau, S.; Zanella, A.; Duc, P.-A.; Ösch, P. A.; Elbaz, D.; Jagannathan, P.; Nyland, K.; Wang, T. (2017): ALMA constraints on star-forming gas in a prototypical z=1.5 clumpy galaxy: the dearth of CO(5-4) emission from UV-bright clumps. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 469, No. 4: pp. 4683-4704
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We present deep ALMA CO(5-4) observations of a main-sequence, clumpy galaxy at z = 1.5 in the HUDF. Thanks to the similar to 0 ''.5 resolution of the ALMA data, we can link stellar population properties to the CO(5-4) emission on scales of a few kiloparsec. We detect strong CO(5-4) emission from the nuclear region of the galaxy, consistent with the observed LIR-L CO(5-4) correlation and indicating ongoing nuclear star formation. The CO(5-4) gas component appears more concentrated than other star formation tracers or the dust distribution in this galaxy. We discuss possible implications of this difference in terms of star formation efficiency and mass build-up at the galaxy centre. Conversely, we do not detect any CO(5-4) emission from the UV-bright clumps. This might imply that clumps have a high star formation efficiency (although they do not display unusually high specific star formation rates) and are not entirely gas dominated, with gas fractions no larger than that of their host galaxy (similar to 50 per cent). Stellar feedback and disc instability torques funnelling gas towards the galaxy centre could contribute to the relatively low gas content. Alternatively, clumps could fall in a more standard star formation efficiency regime if their actual star formation rates are lower than generally assumed. We find that clump star formation rates derived with several different, plausible methods can vary by up to an order of magnitude. The lowest estimates would be compatible with a CO(5-4) non-detection even for main-sequence like values of star formation efficiency and gas content.