Violent quenching: Molecular Gas Blown to 1000 km s -1 during a Major Merger

J. E. Geach, C. Tremonti, A. M. Diamond-Stanic, P. H. Sell, A. A. Kepley, A. L. Coil, G. Rudnick, R. C. Hickox, J. Moustakas, Yujin Yang

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We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of a massive () compact ( pc) merger remnant at z = 0.66 that is driving a 1000 km s -1 outflow of cool gas, with no observational trace of an active galactic nucleus (AGN). We resolve molecular gas on scales of approximately 1-2 kpc, and our main finding is the discovery of a wing of blueshifted CO J(2 → 1) emission out to-1000 km s -1 relative to the stars. We argue that this is the molecular component of a multiphase outflow, expelled from the central starburst within the past 5 Myr through stellar feedback, although we cannot rule out previous AGN activity as a launching mechanism. If the latter is true, then this is an example of a relic multiphase AGN outflow. We estimate a molecular mass outflow rate of approximately 300 M o yr -1, or about one third of the 10 Myr-Averaged star formation rate. This system epitomizes the multiphase "blowout" episode following a dissipational major merger-a process that has violently quenched central star formation and supermassive black hole growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL1
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2018


  • galaxies: Active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: starburst
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics


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