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September 12, 202211:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

Luminous Merger Between Two Star-forming Galaxies 1.7Gyr After the Big Bang


Kate Pitchford (Texas A&M University)


Justin Spilker



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

The bulk of stellar and black hole mass buildup in galaxies occurs in the high-redshift Universe in short, intense bursts of star formation and black hole accretion. However, the exact role of these two processes in assembling galaxies, as well as how much they affect one another, remains unclear. It is thus important to create case studies of high-redshift systems in which they can be studied together to determine how they are triggered and proceed. To this end, I will focus on the SDSS J160705.16+533558.6 system at z = 3.65, which harbors a luminous quasar and is forming new stars at rates in excess of 1000 Myr-1. IR observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and sub-mm observations from the Submillimeter Array are both consistent with the system being a merger between two galaxies, one of which houses the quasar. The stellar and black hole masses are found to be comparable to those of local ellipticals and therefore are consistent with a merger-driven formation at z > 3 of at least some giant ellipticals at z < 0.2.

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