Bright [C II] 158 μm emission in a quasar host galaxy at z = 6.54

E. Bañados, R. Decarli, F. Walter, B. P. Venemans, E. P. Farina, X. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The [C ii] 158 μm fine-structure line is known to trace regions of active star formation and is the main coolant of the cold, neutral atomic medium. In this Letter, we report a strong detection of the [C ii] line in the host galaxy of the brightest quasar known at , the Pan-STARRS1 selected quasar PSO J036.5078+03.0498 (hereafter P036+03), using the IRAM NOEMA millimeter interferometer. Its [C ii] and total far-infrared luminosities are and , respectively. This results in an ratio of , which is at the high end of those found for active galaxies, though it is lower than the average found in typical main-sequence galaxies at . We also report a tentative additional line that we identify as a blended emission from the and H2O transitions. If confirmed, this would be the most distant detection of water emission to date. P036+03 rivals the current prototypical luminous J1148+5251 quasar at z = 6.42, in both rest-frame UV and [C ii] luminosities. Given its brightness and because it is visible from both hemispheres (unlike J1148+5251), P036+03 has the potential of becoming an important laboratory for the study of star formation and of the interstellar medium only ∼800 Myr after the Big Bang.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL8
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2015


  • cosmology: observations
  • quasars: emission lines
  • quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Bright [C II] 158 μm emission in a quasar host galaxy at z = 6.54'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this