Journal Article

The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: high-resolution kinematics of luminous star-forming galaxies

Emily Wisnioski, Karl Glazebrook, Chris Blake, Ted Wyder, Chris Martin, Gregory B. Poole, Rob Sharp, Warrick Couch, Glenn G. Kacprzak, Sarah Brough, Matthew Colless, Carlos Contreras, Scott Croom, Darren Croton, Tamara Davis, Michael J. Drinkwater, Karl Forster, David G. Gilbank, Michael Gladders, Ben Jelliffe, Russell J. Jurek, I-hui Li, Barry Madore, Kevin Pimbblet, Michael Pracy, David Woods and H. K. C. Yee

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 417, issue 4, pages 2601-2623
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: high-resolution kinematics of luminous star-forming galaxies

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We report evidence of ordered orbital motion in luminous star-forming galaxies at z∼ 1.3. We present integral field spectroscopy (IFS) observations, performed with the OH Suppressing InfraRed Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS) system, assisted by laser guide star adaptive optics on the Keck telescope, of 13 star-forming galaxies selected from the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey. Selected via ultraviolet and [O ii] emission, the large volume of the WiggleZ survey allows the selection of sources which have comparable intrinsic luminosity and stellar mass to IFS samples at z > 2. Multiple 1–2 kpc size subcomponents of emission, or ‘clumps’, are detected within the Hα spatial emission which extends over 6–10 kpc in four galaxies, resolved compact emission (r < 3 kpc) is detected in five galaxies and extended regions of Hα emission are observed in the remaining four galaxies. We discuss these data in the context of different snapshots in a merger sequence and/or the evolutionary stages of coalescence of star-forming regions in an unstable disc. We find evidence of ordered orbital motion in galaxies as expected from disc models and the highest values of velocity dispersion (σ > 100 km s−1) in the most compact sources. This unique data set reveals that the most luminous star-forming galaxies at z > 1 are gaseous unstable discs indicating that a different mode of star formation could be feeding gas to galaxies at z > 1, and lending support to theories of cold dense gas flows from the intergalactic medium.

Keywords: galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

Journal Article.  13847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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