Megaparsec-scale structure around the protocluster core SPT2349-56 at z = 4.3

Ryley Hill, Scott Chapman, Douglas Scott, Yordanka Apostolovski, Manuel Aravena, Matthieu Béthermin, C. M. Bradford, Rebecca E.A. Canning, Carlos De Breuck, Chenxing Dong, Anthony Gonzalez, Thomas R. Greve, Christopher C. Hayward, Yashar Hezaveh, Katrina Litke, Matt Malkan, Daniel P. Marrone, Kedar Phadke, Cassie Reuter, Kaja RotermundJustin Spilker, Joaquin D. Vieira, Axel Weiß

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an extensive ALMA spectroscopic follow-up programme of the $z\, {=}\, 4.3$ structure SPT2349-56, one of the most actively star-forming protocluster cores known, to identify additional members using their [C ii] 158 μm and CO(4-3) lines. In addition to robustly detecting the 14 previously published galaxies in this structure, we identify a further 15 associated galaxies at $z\, {=}\, 4.3$, resolving 55$\, {\pm }\,$5 per cent of the 870 μm flux density at 0.5 arcsec resolution compared to 21 arcsec single-dish data. These galaxies are distributed into a central core containing 23 galaxies extending out to 300 kpc in diameter, and a northern extension, offset from the core by 400 kpc, containing three galaxies. We discovered three additional galaxies in a red Herschel-SPIRE source 1.5 Mpc from the main structure, suggesting the existence of many other sources at the same redshift as SPT2349-56 that are not yet detected in the limited coverage of our data. An analysis of the velocity distribution of the central galaxies indicates that this region may be virialized with a mass of (9$\pm 5)\, {\times }\, 10^{12}$ M⊠, while the two offset galaxy groups are about 30 and 60 per cent less massive and show significant velocity offsets from the central group. We calculate the [C ii] and far-infrared number counts, and find evidence for a break in the [C ii] luminosity function. We estimate the average SFR density within the region of SPT2349-56 containing single-dish emission (a proper diameter of 720 kpc), assuming spherical symmetry, to be roughly 4$\, {\times }\, 10^4$ M⊠yr-1 Mpc-3; this may be an order of magnitude greater than the most extreme examples seen in simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3124-3159
Number of pages36
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 14 2020


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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