ALMA unveils wider environment of distant red protocluster core

R. J. Ivison, A. D. Biggs, M. Bremer, V. Arumugam, L. Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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We report observations with the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) of six submillimetre galaxies (SMGs) within 3 arcmin of the Distant Red Core (DRC) at z = 4.0, a site of intense cluster-scale star formation,first reported by Oteo et al.(2018). We find new members of DRC in three SMG fields; in two fields, the SMGs are shown to lie along the line of sight towards DRC; one SMG is spurious. Although at first sight this rate of association is consistent with earlier predictions, associations with the bright SMGs are rarer than expected, which suggests caution when interpreting continuum over-densities. We consider the implications of all 14 confirmed DRC components passing simultaneously through an active phase of star formation. In the simplest explanation, we see only the tip of the iceberg in terms of star formation and gas available for future star formation, consistent with our remarkable finding that the majority of newly confirmed DRC galaxies are not the brightest continuum emitters in their immediate vicinity. Thus while ALMA continuum follow-up of SMGs identifies the brightest continuum emitters in each field, it does not necessarily reveal all the gas-rich galaxies. To hunt effectively for protocluster members requires wide and deep spectral-line imaging to uncover any relatively continuum-faint galaxies that are rich in atomic or molecular gas. Searching with short-baseline arrays or single-dish facilities, the true scale of the underlying gas reservoirs may be revealed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4358-4365
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Advance Access
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020


  • radio lines: ISM
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • submillimetre: galaxies
  • galaxies: starburst


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