A CO Survey of SpARCS Star-forming Brightest Cluster Galaxies: Evidence for Uniformity in BCG Molecular Gas Processing across Cosmic Time

Delaney A. Dunne, Tracy M.A. Webb, Allison Noble, Christopher Lidman, Heath Shipley, Adam Muzzin, Gillian Wilson, H. K.C. Yee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

We present ALMA CO (2-1) detections of 24 star-forming brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) over 0.2 < z < 1.2, constituting the largest and most distant sample of molecular gas measurements in BCGs to date. The BCGs are selected from the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-Sequence Cluster Survey (SpARCS) to be IR-bright and therefore star-forming. We find that molecular gas is common in star-forming BCGs, detecting CO at a detection rate of 80% in our target sample of 30 objects. We additionally provide measurements of the star formation rate and stellar mass, calculated from existing MIPS 24 μm and IRAC 3.6 μm fluxes, respectively. We find these galaxies have molecular gas masses of 0.7-11.0 × 1010 M o˙, comparable to other BCGs in this redshift range, and specific star formation rates that trace the main sequence of Elbaz et al. We compare our BCGs to those of the lower-redshift, cooling-flow BCG sample assembled by Edge and find that at z ≲ 0.6 the two samples show very similar correlations between their gas masses and specific SFRs. We suggest that, in this redshift regime, the ∼10% of BCGs that are star-forming process accreted molecular gas into stars through means that are agnostic to both their redshift and their cluster mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL29
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume909
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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