A high-redshift IRAS galaxy with huge luminosity - Hidden quasar or protogalaxy?

M. Rowan-Robinson, T. Broadhurst, S. J. Oliver, A. N. Taylor, A. Lawrence, R. G. McMahon, C. J. Lonsdale, P. B. Hacking, T. Conrow, W. Saunders, R. S. Ellis, G. P Efstathiou, J. J. Condon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An emission line galaxy with the enormous far-IR luminosity of 3 x 10 to the 14th solar has been found at z = 2.286. The spectrum is very unusual, showing lines of high excitation but with very weak Lyman-alpha emission. A self-absorbed synchrotron model for the IR energy distribution cannot be ruled out, but a thermal origin seems more plausible. A radio-quiet quasar embedded in a very dusty galaxy could account for the IR emission, as might a starburst embedded in 1-10 billion solar masses of dust. The latter case demands so much dust that the object would probably be a massive galaxy in the process of formation. The presence of a large amount of dust in an object of such high redshift implies the generation of heavy elements at an early cosmological epoch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-721
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 1991


  • Galactic Evolution
  • Infrared Astronomy Satellite
  • Quasars
  • Red Shift
  • Astronomical Spectroscopy
  • Emission Spectra
  • Lyman Alpha Radiation
  • Radio Spectra
  • Spectral Energy Distribution
  • Ultraviolet Spectra


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