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Paper: Submillimeter Galaxies
Volume: 419, Galaxy Evolution: Emerging Insights and Future Challenges
Page: 320
Authors: Blain, A. W.
Abstract: The Universe was a more exciting place at moderate to high redshifts z∼3, after reionization took place, but before the present day galaxy properties were firmly established. From a wide variety of directions, we are gaining insight into the Universe at these epochs. Less gas was sequestered into stars and had been ejected into the interstellar medium as weakly emitting, slowly cooling debris, because a significant amount of star formation and supermassive blackhole growth in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) was still to occur. Furthermore, the processes that shape today’s galaxies were at work, and can be seen in real time with the appropriate tools. The most active regions of galaxies at these redshifts are deeply obscured at ultraviolet and optical wavelengths by an opaque interstellar medium (ISM) that absorbs most of their radiation, and then re-emits at far-infrared (IR) wavelengths. This emission provides us with a very powerful probe of the regions within galaxies where the most intense activity takes place; both their total energy output, and from spectroscopy, about the physics and chemistry of the atomic and molecular gas that fuels, hides and surrounds these regions. This information is unique, but not complete: radio, mid- and near-IR, optical and X-ray observations each provide unique complementary views. Nevertheless, probing the obscured Universe, with the Atacama Large (Sub-)Millimeter Array (ALMA), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Herschel Space Observatory, Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and missions and telescopes that are not yet in construction, like an actively cooled sub-10-m class IR space telescope and a 25-m class ground-based submillimeter/THz telescope (CCAT) will provide a more complete picture of in which neighborhoods, by what means and how quickly the most vigorous bursts of activity take place.
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