The ISM in the z = 6.9 Interacting Galaxies of SPT0311-58

Katrina C. Litke, Daniel P. Marrone, Manuel Aravena, Melanie Archipley, Matthieu Béthermin, James Burgoyne, Jared Cathey, Scott C. Chapman, Anthony H. Gonzalez, Thomas R. Greve, Gayathri Gururajan, Christopher C. Hayward, Matthew A. Malkan, Kedar A. Phadke, Cassie A. Reuter, Kaja M. Rotermund, Justin S. Spilker, Antony A. Stark, Nikolaus Sulzenauer, Joaquin D. VieiraDavid Vizgan, Axel Weiß

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


SPT0311-58, a system of two interacting galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization, exists in one of the rarest, most massive dark matter halos theoretically possible in that era. Studying the interstellar medium (ISM) in these galaxies can illuminate the process of galaxy formation in the early Universe. In this work, we explore the multiphase ISM in this system, using ALMA observations of the [C ii] 158, [O i] 146, [N ii] 122, and [O iii] 88 fine-structure lines and dust continuum. We find wide variations in line ratios between the eastern and western galaxies, as well as across the western galaxy. Continuum colors indicate that SPT0311-58 E has a higher ionization parameter ( log U ≈ − 2.8 ) than SPT0311-58 W ( log U ≈ − 3.1 ). The ratio of [O iii] 88-[N ii] 122 and the ionization parameter constraints combine to demonstrate near-solar metallicity in these objects just 800 Myr after the Big Bang.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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