ALMA | ESO | NAOJ | NRAO | 2017 Aug 30
First detection of CH+ molecules in distant starburst galaxies provides insight into star formation history of the UniverseALMA has been used to detect turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. The presence of this molecule sheds new light on how galaxies manage to extend their period of rapid star formation. The results appear in the journal Nature.
- This cartoon shows how gas falling into distant starburst galaxies ends up in vast turbulent reservoirs of cool gas extending 30 000 light-years from the central regions. ALMA has been used to detect these turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding similar distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe, this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. Credit: ESO/L. Benassi
A team led by Edith Falgarone (Ecole Normale Supérieure and Observatoire de Paris, France) has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect signatures of the carbon hydride molecule CH+  in distant starburst galaxies . The group identified strong signals of CH+ in five out of the six galaxies studied, including the Cosmic Eyelash (eso1012) . This research provides new information that helps astronomers understand the growth of galaxies and how a galaxy’s surroundings fuel star formation. ...
How CH+ traces energy can be thought of by analogy to being on a boat in a tropical ocean on a dark, moonless night. When the conditions are right, fluorescent plankton can light up around the boat as it sails. The turbulence caused by the boat sliding through the water excites the plankton to emit light, which reveals the existence of the the turbulent regions in the underlying dark water. Since CH+ forms exclusively in small areas where turbulent motions of gas dissipates, its detection in essence traces energy on a galactic scale. ...
Star-formation ‘Fuel Tanks’ Found around Distant Galaxies
National Radio Astronomy Observatory | ALMA | 2017 Aug 30
ALMA observations offer insights into star-forming history of universe
Large turbulent reservoirs of cold molecular gas around high-redshift starburst galaxies - E. Falgarone et al