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SUPER: VI. A giant molecular halo around a z ∼2 quasar

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher HarrisonORCiD


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© 2021 ESO. We present the discovery of copious molecular gas in the halo of cid 346, a z = 2.2 quasar studied as part of the SINFONI survey for Unveiling the Physics and Effect of Radiative feedback (SUPER). New Atacama Compact Array (ACA) CO(3-2) observations detect a much higher flux (by a factor of 14†±â€ 5) than measured on kiloparsec scales (r≲ 8 kpc) using previous snapshot Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array data. Such additional CO(3-2) emission traces a structure that extends out to r ∼ 200 kpc in projected size, as inferred through direct imaging and confirmed by an analysis of the uv visibilities. This is the most extended molecular circumgalactic medium (CGM) reservoir that has ever been mapped. It shows complex kinematics, with an overall broad line profile (FWHM = 1000 km s-1) that is skewed towards redshifted velocities up to at least v ∼ 1000 km s-1. Using the optically thin assumption, we estimate a strict lower limit for the total molecular CGM mass observed by ACA of MmolCGM > 1010 M· . There is however room for up to MmolCGM ∼1.7 × 1012 M· , once optically thick CO emission with αCO = 3.6 M· (K km s-1 pc2)-1 and L′CO(3-2)/L′CO(1-0) = 0.5 are assumed. Since cid_346 hosts quasar-driven ionised outflows and since there is no evidence of merging companions or an overdensity, we suggest that outflows may have played a crucial rule in seeding metal-enriched, dense gas on halo scales. However, the origin of such an extended molecular CGM remains unclear.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cicone C, Mainieri V, Circosta C, Kakkad D, Vietri G, Perna M, Bischetti M, Carniani S, Cresci G, Harrison C, Mannucci F, Marconi A, Piconcelli E, Puglisi A, Scholtz J, Vignali C, Zamorani G, Zappacosta L, Arrigoni Battaia F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Year: 2021

Volume: 654

Online publication date: 18/10/2021

Acceptance date: 02/09/2021

ISSN (print): 0004-6361

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0746

Publisher: EDP Sciences


DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202141611


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