A molecular line scan in the Hubble Deep field north

R. Decarli, F. Walter, C. Carilli, D. Riechers, P. Cox, R. Neri, M. Aravena, E. Bell, F. Bertoldi, D. Colombo, E. Da Cunha, E. Daddi, M. Dickinson, D. Downes, R. Ellis, L. Lentati, R. Maiolino, K. M. Menten, H. W. Rix, M. SargentD. Stark, B. Weiner, A. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


We present a molecular line scan in the Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N) that covers the entire 3 mm window (79-115 GHz) using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. Our CO redshift coverage spans z ≲ 0.45, 1 ≲ z ≲ 1.9 and all z ≳ 2. We reach a CO detection limit that is deep enough to detect essentially all z > 1 CO lines reported in the literature so far. We have developed and applied different line-searching algorithms, resulting in the discovery of 17 line candidates. We estimate that the rate of false positive line detections is 2/17. We identify optical/NIR counterparts from the deep ancillary database of the HDF-N for seven of these candidates and investigate their available spectral energy distributions. Two secure CO detections in our scan are identified with star-forming galaxies at z = 1.784 and at z = 2.047. These galaxies have colors consistent with the "BzK" color selection and they show relatively bright CO emission compared with galaxies of similar dust continuum luminosity. We also detect two spectral lines in the submillimeter galaxy HDF 850.1 at z = 5.183. We consider an additional nine line candidates as high quality. Our observations also provide a deep 3 mm continuum map (1σ noise level = 8.6 μJy beam-1). Via a stacking approach, we find that optical/MIR bright galaxies contribute only to <50% of the star formation rate density at 1 < z < 3, unless high dust temperatures are invoked. The present study represents a first, fundamental step toward an unbiased census of molecular gas in "normal" galaxies at high-z, a crucial goal of extragalactic astronomy in the ALMA era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number78
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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