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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters Year : 2020

Giant star-forming clumps?

R. J. Ivison
  • Function : Author
A. D. Biggs
  • Function : Author
M. A. Zwaan
  • Function : Author
E. Falgarone
  • Function : Author
V. Arumugam
  • Function : Author
P. P. van der Werf
  • Function : Author
W. Rujopakarn
  • Function : Author


With the spatial resolution of the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), dusty galaxies in the distant Universe typically appear as single, compact blobs of dust emission, with a median half-light radius, ≍1 kpc. Occasionally, strong gravitational lensing by foreground galaxies or galaxy clusters has probed spatial scales 1-2 orders of magnitude smaller, often revealing late-stage mergers, sometimes with tantalizing hints of sub-structure. One lensed galaxy in particular, the Cosmic Eyelash at z = 2.3, has been cited extensively as an example of where the interstellar medium exhibits obvious, pronounced clumps, on a spatial scale of ≍100 pc. Seven orders of magnitude more luminous than giant molecular clouds in the local Universe, these features are presented as circumstantial evidence that the blue clumps observed in many z ∼ 2-3 galaxies are important sites of ongoing star formation, with significant masses of gas and stars. Here, we present data from ALMA which reveal that the dust continuum of the Cosmic Eyelash is in fact smooth and can be reproduced using two Sérsic profiles with effective radii, 1.2 and 4.4 kpc, with no evidence of significant star-forming clumps down to a spatial scale of ≍80 pc and a star formation rate of <3 M yr-1.

Dates and versions

insu-03711465 , version 1 (01-07-2022)



R. J. Ivison, J. Richard, A. D. Biggs, M. A. Zwaan, E. Falgarone, et al.. Giant star-forming clumps?. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 2020, 495, pp.L1-L6. ⟨10.1093/mnrasl/slaa046⟩. ⟨insu-03711465⟩
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