Journal Article

Searching for evidence of energetic feedback in distant galaxies: a galaxy wide outflow in a <i>z ≈ 2</i> ultraluminous infrared galaxy

D. M. Alexander, A. M. Swinbank, Ian Smail, R. McDermid and N. P. H. Nesvadba

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 4, pages 2211-2220
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Searching for evidence of energetic feedback in distant galaxies: a galaxy wide outflow in a z ≈ 2 ultraluminous infrared galaxy

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Leading models of galaxy formation require large-scale energetic outflows to regulate the growth of distant galaxies and their central black holes. However, current observational support for this hypothesis at high redshift is mostly limited to rare z > 2 radio galaxies. Here, we present Gemini-North Near-Infrared Field Spectrometer (NIFS) observations of the [O iii] λ5007 emission from a z≈ 2 ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG; LIR > 1012 L) with an optically identified active galactic nuclei (AGN). The spatial extent (≈4–8 kpc) of the high velocity and broad [O iii] emission is consistent with that found in z > 2 radio galaxies, indicating the presence of a large-scale energetic outflow in a galaxy population potentially orders of magnitude more common than distant radio galaxies. The low radio luminosity of this system indicates that radio-bright jets are unlikely to be responsible for driving the outflow. However, the estimated energy input required to produce the large-scale outflow signatures (of the order of ≈1059 erg over ≈30 Myr) could be delivered by a wind radiatively driven by the AGN and/or supernovae winds from intense star formation. The energy injection required to drive the outflow is comparable to the estimated binding energy of the galaxy spheroid, suggesting that it can have a significant impact on the evolution of the galaxy. We argue that the outflow observed in this system is likely to be comparatively typical of the high-redshift ULIRG population and discuss the implications of these observations for galaxy formation models.

Keywords: galaxies: evolution; galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; quasars: emission lines; galaxies: starburst

Journal Article.  8266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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