Volume 634, February 2020
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||31 January 2020|
Letter to the Editor
First detection of the 448 GHz ortho-H2O line at high redshift: probing the structure of a starburst nucleus at z = 3.63
European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Casilla, 19001 Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
2 Universidad de Alcalá, Departamento de Física y Matemáticas, Campus Universitario, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
3 Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS & Sorbonne Université (UPMC), 98 bis bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4 Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Ctra. de Ajalvir, Km 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
5 George Mason University, Department of Physics & Astronomy, MS 3F3, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
6 Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS UMR 8617, Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, 91405 Orsay, France
Accepted: 17 January 2020
Submillimeter rotational lines of H2O are a powerful probe in warm gas regions of the interstellar medium (ISM), tracing scales and structures ranging from kiloparsec disks to the most compact and dust-obscured regions of galactic nuclei. The ortho-H2O(423 − 330 line at 448 GHz, which has recently been detected in a local luminous infrared galaxy, offers a unique constraint on the excitation conditions and ISM properties in deeply buried galaxy nuclei because the line requires high far-infrared optical depths to be excited. In this letter, we report the first high-redshift detection of the 448 GHz H2O(423–330) line using ALMA in a strongly lensed submillimeter galaxy (SMG) at z = 3.63. After correcting for magnification, the luminosity of the 448 GHz H2O line is ∼106 L⊙. In combination with three other previously detected H2O lines, we build a model that resolves the dusty ISM structure of the SMG, and find that it is composed of a ∼1 kpc optically thin (optical depth at 100 μm τ100 ∼ 0.3) disk component with a dust temperature Tdust ≈ 50 K that emits a total infrared power of 5 × 1012 L⊙ with a surface density ΣIR = 4 × 1011 L⊙ kpc−2, and a very compact (0.1 kpc) heavily dust-obscured (τ100 ≳ 1) nuclear core with very warm dust (100 K) and ΣIR = 8 × 1012 L⊙ kpc−2. The H2O abundance in the core component, XH2O ∼ (0.3–5) × 10−5, is at least one order of magnitude higher than in the disk component. The optically thick core has the characteristic properties of an Eddington-limited starburst, providing evidence that radiation pressure on dust is capable of supporting the ISM in buried nuclei at high redshifts. The multicomponent ISM structure revealed by our models illustrates that dust and molecules such as H2O are present in regions that are characterized by highly differing conditions and scales, extending from the nucleus to more extended regions of SMGs.
Key words: galaxies: high-redshift / galaxies: ISM / infrared: galaxies / submillimeter: galaxies / radio lines: ISM / ISM: molecules
© ESO 2020
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