Evidence for Inside-out Galaxy Growth and Quenching of a z ∼ 2 Compact Galaxy From High-resolution Molecular Gas Imaging
We present high spatial resolution imaging of the CO(1-0) line from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of COSMOS27289, a massive, compact star forming galaxy at z=2.234. This galaxy was selected to be structurally similar to z~2 passive galaxies. Our previous observations showed that it is very gas-poor with respect to typical star-forming galaxies at these redshifts, consistent with a rapid transition to quiescence as the molecular gas is depleted. The new data show that both the
... hat both the molecular gas fraction f_H2 = M_H2/M_star and the molecular gas depletion time t_dep = M_H2/SFR are lower in the central 1-2kpc of the galaxy and rise at larger radii ~2-4kpc. These observations are consistent with a scenario in which COSMOS27289 will imminently cease star formation in the inner regions before the outskirts, i.e. inside-out quenching, the first time this phenomenon has been seen via observations of molecular gas in the high-redshift universe. We find good qualitative and quantitative agreement with a hydrodynamical simulation of galaxy quenching, in which the central suppression of molecular gas arises due to rapid gas consumption and outflows that evacuate the central regions of gas. Our results provide independent evidence for inside-out quenching of star formation as a plausible formation mechanism for z~2 quiescent galaxies.