Continuum observations of the high-redshift universe at submillimetre wavelengths

D H Hughes, J S Dunlop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

New bolometer arrays operating on the world's largest sub-millimetre and millimetre telescopes offer a unique view of the high-redshift universe with unprecedented sensitivity. Recent sub-millimetre continuum studies show that the host galaxies of many luminous high-redshift active galactic nuclei (radio galaxies and radio-quiet quasars) radiate strongly at rest-frame far-infrared wavelengths and thus contain substantial quantities of dust. In the majority of these high-redshift AGN-hosts, the inferred star formation is proceeding at a rate comparable to that found in local, interacting ultra-luminous far-infrared galaxies. This level of activity is an order of magnitude greater than the more modest star-formation rates apparently displayed by the recently discovered Lyman-limit galaxies at z similar to 3, which have been argued to represent the era of spheroid formation (although the degree to which the effects of reddening by dust grains may have biased the interpretation of these optical/UV studies of high-z galaxies has yet to be properly determined). However, it is too early to say whether such bright far-infrared emission is a feature of all massive galaxies at z > 3, or whether it is in fact confined to the hosts of the most luminous AGN.

In this paper we review the current status of cosmological observations at sub-millimetre and millimetre wavelengths, highlighting our own recent SCUBA observations of high-redshift radio galaxies. We also explain how observations over the next few years should allow the true level of star-formation activity in the high-redshift universe to be properly quantified, and we provide example predictions for the first deep sub-millimetre survey (of the Hubble Deep Field), which we and our colleagues are currently undertaking with SCUBA at the JCMT.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHIGHLY REDSHIFTED RADIO LINES
EditorsCL Carilli, SJE Radford, KM Menten, GI Langston
Place of PublicationSAN FRANCISCO
PublisherASTRONOMICAL SOC PACIFIC
Pages99-112
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)1-886733-76-7
Publication statusPublished - 1999
EventConference on Highly Redshifted Radio Lines - GREEN BANK
Duration: 9 Oct 199711 Oct 1997

Conference

ConferenceConference on Highly Redshifted Radio Lines
CityGREEN BANK
Period9/10/9711/10/97

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Continuum observations of the high-redshift universe at submillimetre wavelengths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this