Zooming in on star formation in the brightest galaxies of the early universe discovered with the Planck and Herschel satellites

Abstract : Strongly gravitationally lensed galaxies offer an outstanding opportunity to characterize the most intensely star-forming galaxies in the high-redshift universe. In the most extreme cases, one can probe the mechanisms that underlie the intense star formation on the scales of individual star-forming regions. This requires very fortuitous gravitational lensing configurations offering magnification factors >> 10, which are particularly rare toward the high-redshift dusty star-forming galaxies. The Planck's Dusty GEMS (Gravitationally Enhanced subMillimeter Sources) sample contains eleven of the brightest high-redshift galaxies discovered with the Planck sub-millimeter all-sky survey, with flux densities between 300 and 1000 mJy at 350 microns, factors of a few brighter than the majority of lensed sources previously discovered with other surveys. Six of them are above the 90% completeness limit of the Planck Catalog of Compact Sources (PCCS), suggesting that they are among the brightest high-redshift sources on the sky selected by their active star formation. This thesis comes within the framework of the extensive multi-wavelength follow-up programme designed to determine the overall properties of the high-redshift sources and to probe the lensing configurations. Firstly, to characterize the intervening lensing structures and calculate lensing models, I use optical and near/mid-infrared imaging and spectroscopy. I deduce that our eleven GEMS are aligned with intervening matter overdensities at intermediate redshift, either massive isolated galaxies or galaxy groups and clusters. The foreground sources exhibit evolved stellar populations of a few giga years, characteristic of early-type galaxies. Moreover, the first detailed models of the light deflection toward the GEMS suggest magnification factors systematically > 10, and > 20 for some lines-of-sight. Secondly, we observe the GEMS in the far-infrared and sub-millimeter domains in order to characterize the background sources. The sub-arcsec resolution IRAM and SMA interferometry shows distorded morphologies which definitively confirm that the eleven sources are strongly lensed. I obtain dust temperatures between 33 and 50 K, and outstanding far-infrared luminosities of up to 2x10^14 solar luminosities before correcting for the gravitational magnification. The relationship between dust temperatures and far-infrared luminosities also confirms that the GEMS are brighter than field galaxies at a given dust temperature. I conclude that dust heating seems to be strongly dominated by the star formation activity with an AGN contamination systematically below 30%. We find secure spectroscopic redshifts between 2.2 and 3.6 for the eleven targets thanks to the detection of at least two CO emission lines per source. Finally, I focus on the three gravitationally lensed sources showing the most remarkable properties including the brightest GEMS, a maximal starburst with star formation surface densities near the Eddington limit.
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Raoul Cañameras. Zooming in on star formation in the brightest galaxies of the early universe discovered with the Planck and Herschel satellites. Cosmology and Extra-Galactic Astrophysics [astro-ph.CO]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLS237⟩. ⟨tel-01416000⟩

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