The sins survey of Z 2 galaxy kinematics: Properties of the giant star-forming clumps

R. Genzel*, S. Newman, T. Jones, N. M. Förster Schreiber, K. Shapiro, S. Genel, S. J. Lilly, A. Renzini, L. J. Tacconi, N. Bouché, A. Burkert, G. Cresci, P. Buschkamp, C. M. Carollo, D. Ceverino, R. Davies, A. Dekel, F. Eisenhauer, E. Hicks, J. KurkD. Lutz, C. Mancini, T. Naab, Y. Peng, A. Sternberg, D. Vergani, G. Zamorani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the properties of giant star-forming clumps in five z ∼ 2 star-forming disks with deep SINFONI AO spectroscopy at the ESO VLT. The clumps reside in disk regions where the Toomre Q-parameter is below unity, consistent with their being bound and having formed from gravitational instability. Broad Hα/[N II] line wings demonstrate that the clumps are launching sites of powerful outflows. The inferred outflow rates are comparable to or exceed the star formation rates, in one case by a factor of eight. Typical clumps may lose a fraction of their original gas by feedback in a few hundred million years, allowing them to migrate into the center. The most active clumps may lose much of their mass and disrupt in the disk. The clumps leave a modest imprint on the gas kinematics. Velocity gradients across the clumps are 10-40 km s-1 kpc-1, similar to the galactic rotation gradients. Given beam smearing and clump sizes, these gradients may be consistent with significant rotational support in typical clumps. Extreme clumps may not be rotationally supported; either they are not virialized or they are predominantly pressure supported. The velocity dispersion is spatially rather constant and increases only weakly with star formation surface density. The large velocity dispersions may be driven by the release of gravitational energy, either at the outer disk/accreting streams interface, and/or by the clump migration within the disk. Spatial variations in the inferred gas phase oxygen abundance are broadly consistent with inside-out growing disks, and/or with inward migration of the clumps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • infrared: galaxies Online-only material: color figures


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