A cosmic stream of atomic carbon gas connected to a massive radio galaxy at redshift 3.8

Bjorn H.C. Emonts*, Matthew D. Lehnert, Ilsang Yoon, Nir Mandelker, Montserrat Villar-Martín, George K. Miley, Carlos De Breuck, Miguel A. Pérez-Torres, Nina A. Hatch, Pierre Guillard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growth of galaxies in the early Universe is driven by accretion of circum- and intergalactic gas. Simulations have predicted that steady streams of cold gas penetrate the dark matter halos of galaxies and provide the raw material necessary to sustain star formation. We report a filamentary stream of gas that extends for 100 kiloparsecs and connects to the massive radio galaxy 4C 41.17. We detected the stream using submillimeter observations of the 3P1 to 3P0 emission from the [C I] line of atomic carbon, a tracer of neutral atomic or molecular hydrogen gas. The galaxy contains a central gas reservoir that is fueling a vigorous starburst. Our results show that the raw material for star formation can be present in cosmic streams outside galaxies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1323-1326
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume379
Issue number6639
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2023

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