Clarifying the nature of the brightest submillimetre sources: interferometric imaging of LH 850.02 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We present high-resolution interferometric imaging of LH850.02, the brightest 850- and 1200-micron submillimetre (submm) galaxy in the Lockman Hole. Our observations were made at 890 micron with the Submillimetre Array (SMA). Our high-resolution submm imaging detects LH850.02 at >6-sigma as a single compact (size < 1 arcsec or < 8 kpc) point source and yields its absolute position to ~0.2-arcsec accuracy. LH850.02 has two alternative radio counterparts within the SCUBA beam (LH850.02N & S), both of which are statistically very unlikely to be so close to the SCUBA source position by chance. However, the precise astrometry from the SMA shows that the submm emission arises entirely from LH850.02N, and is not associated with LH850.02S (by far the brighter of the two alternative identifications at 24-micron). Fits to the optical-infrared multi-colour photometry of LH850.02N & S indicate that both lie at z~3.3, and are therefore likely to be physically associated. At these redshifts, the 24 micron--to--submm flux density ratios suggest that LH850.02N has an Arp220-type starburst-dominated far-IR SED, while LH850.02S is more similar to Mrk231, with less dust-enshrouded star-formation activity, but a significant contribution at 24-micron (rest-frame ~5-6 micron) from an active nucleus. This complex mix of star-formation and AGN activity in multi-component sources may be common in the high redshift ultraluminous galaxy population, and highlights the need for precise astrometry from high resolution interferometric imaging for a more complete understanding.


  • Younger, JD
  • Dunlop, JS
  • Peck, AB
  • Ivison, RJ
  • Biggs, AD
  • Chapin, EL
  • Clements, DL
  • Dye, S
  • Greve, TR
  • Hughes, DH
  • Iono, D
  • Smail, I
  • Krips, M
  • Petitpas, GR
  • Wilner, D
  • Schael, AM
  • Wilson, Christine D

publication date

  • June 2008