Extreme Gas Fractions in Clumpy, Turbulent Disk Galaxies at Z Similar To 0.1

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Fisher, David B.
Glazebrook, Karl
Bolatto, Alberto
Obreschkow, Danail
Cooper, Erin Mentuch
Wisnioski, Emily
Bassett, Robert
Abraham, Roberto G.
Damjanov, Ivana
Green, Andy

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In this Letter, we report the discovery of CO fluxes, suggesting very high gas fractions in three disk galaxies seen in the nearby universe (z similar to 0.1). These galaxies were investigated as part of the DYnamics of Newly Assembled Massive Objects (DYNAMO) survey. High-resolution Hubble Space Telescope imaging of these objects reveals the presence of large star forming clumps in the bodies of the galaxies, while spatially resolved spectroscopy of redshifted II alpha reveals the presence of high dispersion rotating disks. The internal dynamical state of these galaxies resembles that of disk systems seen at much higher redshifts (1 < z < 3). Using CO(1-0) observations made with the Plateau de Bure Interferometer, we find gas fractions of 20%-30% and depletion times of t(dep) similar to 0.5 Gyr (assuming aMilky-Way-like alpha(CO)). These properties are unlike those expected for low-redshift galaxies of comparable specific star Formation rate, but they are normal for their high-z counterparts. DYNAMO galaxies break the degeneracy between gas fraction and redshift, and we show that the depletion time per specific star Formation rate for galaxies is closely tied to gas fraction, independent of redshift. We also show that the gas dynamics of two of our local targets corresponds to those expected from unstable disks, again resembling the dynamics of high-z disks. These results provide evidence that DYNAMO galaxies are local analogs to the clumpy, turbulent disks, which are often found at high redshift.



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Fisher, David B., Karl Glazebrook, Alberto Bolatto, Danail Obreschkow, Erin Mentuch Cooper, Emily Wisnioski, Robert Bassett et al. "Extreme gas fractions in clumpy, turbulent disk galaxies at z~ 0.1." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 790, No. 2 (Aug., 2014): L30.