AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 67. Cosmic Gas: Long Ago and Far Away
Oral, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 606-607

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[67.07] Molecular Gas in the Lensed Lyman Break Galaxy cB58

A. J. Baker, L. J. Tacconi, R. Genzel, M. D. Lehnert, D. Lutz (MPE Garching)

We have used the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer to detect CO(3--2) emission from the z = 2.7 gravitationally lensed Lyman break galaxy MS\,1512+36-cB58. This source is the first Lyman break galaxy detected in any molecular emission line. Its integrated line flux implies the presence of enough molecular gas to fuel star formation at the current rate for the next few hundred Myr, i.e., comparable to the timescale over which the galaxy has already been forming stars. Its line width implies a molecular gas mass fraction in the range of 10--50%. We discuss the implications of our result for understanding the star formation history, enrichment, and evolution of cB58 and other Lyman break galaxies.

Operations at IRAM are funded by the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France), the MPG (Max Planck Gesellschaft, Germany), and the IGN (Instituto Geográfico Nacional, Spain).

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