Large-scale structure traced by molecular gas at high redshift

Elizabeth R. Stanway, Malcolm N. Bremer, Luke J.M. Davies, Mark Birkinshaw, Laura S. Douglas, Matthew D. Lehnert

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

10 Citations (Scopus)


We present observations of redshifted CO(1-0) and CO(2-1) in a field containing an overdensity of Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) at z p 5.12. Our Australia Telescope Compact Array observations were centered between two spectroscopically confirmed z p 5.12 galaxies. We place upper limits on the molecular gas masses in these two galaxies of M(H2) < 1.7 × 1010 and <2.9 × 109 M⊙ (2 σ), comparable to their stellar masses. We detect an optically faint line emitter situated between the two LBGs which we identify as warm molecular gas at z = 5.1245 ± 0.0001. This source, detected in the CO(2-1) transition but undetected in CO(1-0), has an integrated line flux of 0.106 ± 0.012 Jy km s-1, yielding an inferred gas mass M(H2) = (1.9 ± 0.2) × 1010 M⊙. Molecular line emitters without detectable counterparts at optical and infrared wavelengths may be crucial tracers of structure and mass at high redshift.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Evolution-galaxies
  • Galaxies
  • High-redshift


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