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A 100-kiloparsec wind feeding the circumgalactic medium of a massive compact galaxy


Ninety per cent of baryons are located outside galaxies, either in the circumgalactic or intergalactic medium1,2. Theory points to galactic winds as the primary source of the enriched and massive circumgalactic medium3,4,5,6. Winds from compact starbursts have been observed to flow to distances somewhat greater than ten kiloparsecs7,8,9,10, but the circumgalactic medium typically extends beyond a hundred kiloparsecs3,4. Here we report optical integral field observations of the massive but compact galaxy SDSS J211824.06+001729.4. The oxygen [O ii] lines at wavelengths of 3726 and 3729 angstroms reveal an ionized outflow spanning 80 by 100 square kiloparsecs, depositing metal-enriched gas at 10,000 kelvin through an hourglass-shaped nebula that resembles an evacuated and limb-brightened bipolar bubble. We also observe neutral gas phases at temperatures of less than 10,000 kelvin reaching distances of 20 kiloparsecs and velocities of around 1,500 kilometres per second. This multi-phase outflow is probably driven by bursts of star formation, consistent with theory11,12.

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Fig. 1: The giant galactic wind surrounding the massive, compact galaxy Makani, observed by emission from the [O ii] line at λ = 3,726 Å and 3,729 Å.
Fig. 2: Velocity maps of the galactic wind.
Fig. 3: Comparison of the ionized, neutral atomic and molecular phases of the galactic wind.

Data availability

Raw data generated at the Keck Observatory are available at the Keck Observatory Archive ( following the standard 18-month proprietary period after the date of observation. This paper makes use of the ALMA data ADS/JAO.ALMA#2016.1.01072.S and ADS/JAO.ALMA#2017.1.01318.S, which are available at the ALMA Science Archive ( Some of the data presented here were obtained from the SDSS ( The Hubble Space Telescope observations described here were obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive ( Derived data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


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We thank M. Gronke for comments on the manuscript and C. Conroy for providing the C3K models before publication. D.S.N.R. is supported in part by the J. Lester Crain Chair of Physics at Rhodes College. J.E.G. is supported by the Royal Society. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under a collaborative grant (AST-1814233, 1813299, 1813365, 1814159 and 1813702). We acknowledge support from NASA award number SOF-06-0191 issued by the Universities Space Research Association. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. ALMA is a partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO, representing its member states), NSF (USA) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan), together with the National Research Council (Canada), the Ministry of Science and Technology and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Taiwan), and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, the Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) / National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. NRAO is a facility of the NSF operated under cooperative agreement by AUI. The Hubble Legacy Archive is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI/NASA), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF/ESA) and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC/NRC/CSA). Some of the data presented here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the NSF, the US Department of Energy, NASA, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.

Author information




A.C. and J.E.G. conceived the observations of a sample developed by C.T. A.C., G.L., and D.S.N.R. performed the KCWI observations, and J.E.G. led the ALMA data acquisition. D.S.N.R. led data reduction and analysis of the KCWI data, and J.E.G. led data reduction and analysis of the ALMA data. C.T. and E.R.G. fitted ancillary spectra. D.S.N.R. wrote the manuscript, with contributions from A.C. throughout; J.E.G. contributed to the section on ALMA observations; A.M.D.-S. and J.M. contributed to the section on stellar mass; and C.T. contributed to the section on stellar populations. D.S.N.R., G.L., E.R.G., J.M. and C.T. produced the figures, with A.C. and J.E.G. contributing to their design. J.M. performed the spectral energy distribution modelling, and P.H.S. handled the structural analysis of the Hubble Space Telescope data. All co-authors provided critical feedback to the text and helped to shape the manuscript.

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Correspondence to David S. N. Rupke.

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Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Fig. 1 Line ratio diagrams of the core spectrum.

In a, the green solid line demarcates the edge of the z = 0 pure star-formation locus63; in both panels, blue long-dashed lines denote the limits of young star photo-ionization64; and in b, the green short-dashed line separates Seyfert galaxies (AGNs) from low-ionization nuclear emission-line regions (LINERs)64. Error bars are 1σ. The red narrow component is consistent with star formation at near-solar metallicity, while the broad, outflowing component is ionized by either an AGN or high-velocity shocks.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Comparison of velocity profiles among gas phases.

Tracers are shown as coloured lines, while the CO(2–1) profile is shaded in grey. The data are smoothed by three pixels and the coloured shadings indicate 1σ errors on the line fluxes. The ultraviolet–optical nebular lines are shown with the correct relative fluxes (uncorrected for reddening in the host galaxy), while the CO(2–1) line is arbitrarily scaled. The spatially integrated velocity profiles probe different gas phases and spatial scales but show remarkable overall consistency.

Extended Data Fig. 3 [O ii] spatial profiles.

Profiles are averaged and then plotted versus distance from the galaxy nucleus along circular radii (black); the short axis of the nebula, or east-to-west axis (blue); and the long axis of the nebula, or north-to-south axis (purple). The averages are taken in directions perpendicular to these: in azimuth around the nucleus; along the long axis; and along the short axis, respectively. The short and long axis profiles are shifted upward in flux so that the three profiles match in the lowest distance bin. Errors are standard errors of the mean. Plotted as dashed lines are the stellar half-light radius (orange), the [O ii] half-light radius within 50 kpc (black), and the [O ii] maximum radius along the short and long axes (blue and purple).

Extended Data Fig. 4 Fit to the ultraviolet-to-mid-infrared spectral energy distribution.

The best-fit model and 1σ error are shown with a black line and grey shading; observed fluxes with 1σ errors (usually smaller than the symbols) are yellow circles; and model fluxes are open cyan boxes. Flux is given in AB magnitudes and observed-frame wavelengths in micrometres. The posterior probability P(M) for stellar mass M is shown in the inset.

Extended Data Fig. 5 Stellar population model fit.

Spectral data from SDSS and the MMT and 1σ errors are shown as the black line and grey shading. SDSS ugriz photometry and 1σ errors are the cyan squares and grey vertical bars. The best-fit model is a magenta line; the stellar population components summed to produce this model are shown as coloured lines, with ages as shown. SSP, simple stellar population.

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Rupke, D.S.N., Coil, A., Geach, J.E. et al. A 100-kiloparsec wind feeding the circumgalactic medium of a massive compact galaxy. Nature 574, 643–646 (2019).

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