Serendipitous discovery of an "aLMA-only" galaxy at 5 < z < 6 in an ALMA 3-mm survey

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We discuss the serendipitous discovery of a dusty high-redshift galaxy in a small (8 arcmin2) ALMA 3-mm survey Williams et al. (2019). The galaxy was previously unknown and is absent from existing multi-wavelength catalogs ("ALMA-only"). Using the ALMA position as prior, we perform forced deblended photometry to constrain its spectral energy distribution. The spectral energy distribution is well described by a massive (M∗ = 1010.8 M⊙) and highly obscured (AV ∼4) galaxy at redshift z = 5.5 ± 1.1 with star formation rate ∼300 M⊙yr-1. Our small survey area implies an uncertain but large contribution to the cosmic star formation rate density, similar to the contribution from all ultraviolet-selected galaxies combined at this redshift. This galaxy likely traces an abundant population of massive galaxies absent from current samples of infrared-selected or sub-millimeter galaxies, but with larger space densities, higher duty cycles, and significant contribution to the cosmic star-formation rate and stellar mass densities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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