A titanic interstellar medium ejection from a massive starburst galaxy at redshift 1.4

Annagrazia Puglisi*, Emanuele Daddi, Marcella Brusa, Frederic Bournaud, Jeremy Fensch, Daizhong Liu, Ivan Delvecchio, Antonello Calabro, Chiara Circosta, Francesco Valentino, Michele Perna, Shuowen Jin, Andrea Enia, Chiara Mancini, Giulia Rodighiero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Feedback-driven winds from star formation or active galactic nuclei might be a relevant channel for the abrupt quenching of star formation in massive galaxies. However, both observations and simulations support the idea that these processes are non-conflictingly co-evolving and self-regulating. Furthermore, evidence of disruptive events that are capable of fast quenching is rare, and constraints on their statistical prevalence are lacking. Here we present a massive starburst galaxy at redshift z = 1.4, which is ejecting 46 ± 13% of its molecular gas mass at a startling rate of ≳10,000 M yr−1. A broad component that is red-shifted from the galaxy emission is detected in four (low and high J) CO and [C i] transitions and in the ionized phase, which ensures a robust estimate of the expelled gas mass. The implied statistics suggest that similar events are potentially a major star-formation quenching channel. However, our observations provide compelling evidence that this is not a feedback-driven wind, but rather material from a merger that has been probably tidally ejected. This finding challenges some literature studies in which the role of feedback-driven winds might be overstated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Astronomy
Volume5
Pages (from-to)319–330
ISSN2397-3366
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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