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14th of June 2015
A star-forming disc in the host galaxy of a hyper-luminous supermassive black hole
by Amy Kimball (CASS)
The 1900-GHz carbon [CII] line is an excellent tracer of gas dynamics in distant galaxies because of its very high luminosity. Observing this line is one of the best ways to study galaxies that host an active supermassive black hole (a "quasar") at their center. The particular [CII] line presented here is from the galaxy that is home to J1554+1937, one of the most luminous known quasars in the Universe, observed at z = 4.6 (when the Universe was 10% of its current age). The double-peaked profile of the line and the gradient across its velocity map are signatures of rotating gas disc about 2 kpc (6500 light years) in size. The unprecedented broad width of the line indicates that the disc is rotating with high velocity (~480 km/s), and that the total mass within the central 2 kpc of the galaxy is 100 billion times the mass of the Sun. These observations were made in just 5 minutes with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)!

Reference:Amy Kimball, Mark Lacy, Carol J Lonsdale and J-P Macquart 2015, MNRAS, in press

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