skip to main content

Title: Constraining Lyman-alpha spatial offsets at 3 < z < 5.5 from VANDELS slit spectroscopy
Abstract We constrain the distribution of spatially offset Lyman-alpha emission (Ly α) relative to rest-frame ultraviolet emission in ∼300 high redshift (3 < z < 5.5) Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs) exhibiting Ly α emission from VANDELS, a VLT/VIMOS slit-spectroscopic survey of the CANDELS Ultra Deep Survey and Chandra Deep Field South fields (≃0.2 deg2 total). Because slit spectroscopy only provides one spatial dimension, we use Bayesian inference to recover the underlying two-dimensional Ly α spatial offset distribution. We model the distribution using a two-dimensional circular Gaussian, defined by a single parameter σr,Ly α, the standard deviation expressed in polar coordinates. Over the entire redshift range of our sample (3 < z < 5.5), we find $\sigma _{r,\mathrm{Ly}\,\alpha }=1.70^{+0.09}_{-0.08}$ kpc ($68\hbox{ per cent}$ conf.), corresponding to ∼0${^{\prime\prime}_{.}}$25 at 〈z〉 = 4.5. We also find that σr,Ly α decreases significantly with redshift. Because Ly α spatial offsets can cause slit losses, the decrease in σr,Ly α with redshift can partially explain the increase in the fraction of Ly α emitters observed in the literature over this same interval, although uncertainties are still too large to reach a strong conclusion. If σr,Ly α continues to decrease into the reionization epoch, then the decrease in Ly α transmission from galaxies observed during this epoch might require more » an even higher neutral hydrogen fraction than what is currently inferred. Conversely, if spatial offsets increase with the increasing opacity of the intergalactic medium, slit losses may explain some of the drop in Ly α transmission observed at z > 6. Spatially resolved observations of Ly α and UV continuum at 6 < z < 8 are needed to settle the issue. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
1815458 1810822
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10147979
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
488
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
706 to 719
ISSN:
0035-8711
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT We study the projected spatial offset between the ultraviolet continuum and Ly α emission for 65 lensed and unlensed galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization (5 ≤ z ≤ 7), the first such study at these redshifts, in order to understand the potential for these offsets to confuse estimates of the Ly α properties of galaxies observed in slit spectroscopy. While we find that ∼40 per cent of galaxies in our sample show significant projected spatial offsets ($|\Delta _{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$), we find a relatively modest average projected offset of $|\widetilde{\Delta }_{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$  = 0.61 ± 0.08 proper kpc for the entire sample. Amore »small fraction of our sample, ∼10 per cent, exhibit offsets in excess of 2 proper kpc, with offsets seen up to ∼4 proper kpc, sizes that are considerably larger than the effective radii of typical galaxies at these redshifts. An internal comparison and a comparison to studies at lower redshift yielded no significant evidence of evolution of $|\Delta _{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$ with redshift. In our sample, ultraviolet (UV)-bright galaxies ($\widetilde{L_{\mathrm{ UV}}}/L^{\ast }_{\mathrm{ UV}}=0.67$) showed offsets a factor of three greater than their fainter counterparts ($\widetilde{L_{\mathrm{ UV}}}/L^{\ast }_{\mathrm{ UV}}=0.10$), 0.89 ± 0.18 versus 0.27 ± 0.05 proper kpc, respectively. The presence of companion galaxies and early stage merging activity appeared to be unlikely causes of these offsets. Rather, these offsets appear consistent with a scenario in which internal anisotropic processes resulting from stellar feedback, which is stronger in UV-brighter galaxies, facilitate Ly α fluorescence and/or backscattering from nearby or outflowing gas. The reduction in the Ly α flux due to offsets was quantified. It was found that the differential loss of Ly α photons for galaxies with average offsets is not, if corrected for, a limiting factor for all but the narrowest slit widths (<0.4 arcsec). However, for the largest offsets, if they are mostly perpendicular to the slit major axis, slit losses were found to be extremely severe in cases where slit widths of ≤1 arcsec were employed, such as those planned for James Webb Space Telescope/NIRSpec observations.« less
  2. Context. The Lyman- α line in the ultraviolet (UV) and the [CII] line in the far-infrared (FIR) are widely used tools to identify galaxies in the early Universe and to obtain insights into interstellar medium (ISM) properties in high-redshift galaxies. By combining data obtained with ALMA in band 7 at ∼320 GHz as part of the ALMA Large Program to INvestigate [CII] at Early Times (ALPINE) with spectroscopic data from DEIMOS at the Keck Observatory, VIMOS and FORS2 at the Very Large Telescope, we assembled a unique sample of 53 main-sequence star-forming galaxies at 4.4 <   z  <  6 inmore »which we detect both the Lyman- α line in the UV and the [CII] line in the FIR. Aims. The goal of this paper is to constrain the properties of the Ly α emission in these galaxies in relation to other properties of the ISM. Methods. We used [CII], observed with ALMA, as a tracer of the systemic velocity of the galaxies, and we exploited the available optical spectroscopy to obtain the Ly α -[CII] and ISM-[CII] velocity offsets. Results. We find that 90% of the selected objects have Ly α -[CII] velocity offsets in the range 0 <  Δ v Ly α  − [CII]  <  400 km s −1 , in line with the few measurements available so far in the early Universe, and significantly smaller than those observed at lower redshifts. At the same time, we observe ISM-[CII] offsets in the range −500 <  Δ v ISM−[CII]  <  0 km s −1 , in line with values at all redshifts, which we interpret as evidence for outflows in these galaxies. We find significant anticorrelations between Δ v Ly α −[CII] and the Ly α rest-frame equivalent width EW 0 (Ly α ) (or equivalently, the Ly α escape fraction f esc (Ly α )): galaxies that show smaller Δ v Ly α −[CII] have larger EW 0 (Ly α ) and f esc (Ly α ). Conclusions. We interpret these results in the framework of available models for the radiative transfer of Ly α photons. According to the models, the escape of Ly α photons would be favored in galaxies with high outflow velocities, producing large EW 0 (Ly α ) and small Δ v Ly α -[CII] , in agreement with our observations. The uniform shell model would also predict that the Ly α escape in galaxies with slow outflows (0 <   v out  <  300 km s −1 ) is mainly determined by the neutral hydrogen column density (NHI) along the line of sight, while the alternative model by Steidel et al. (2010, ApJ, 717, 289) would more highly favor a combination of NHI at the systemic velocity and covering fraction as driver of the Ly α escape. We suggest that the increase in Ly α escape that is observed in the literature between z  ∼ 2 and z  ∼ 6 is not due to a higher incidence of fast outflows at high redshift, but rather to a decrease in average NHI along the line of sight, or alternatively, a decrease in HI covering fraction.« less
  3. ABSTRACT

    The observed properties of the Lyman-α (Ly α) emission line are a powerful probe of neutral gas in and around galaxies. We present spatially resolved Ly α spectroscopy with VLT/MUSE targeting VR7, a UV-luminous galaxy at z = 6.532 with moderate Ly α equivalent width (EW0 ≈ 38 Å). These data are combined with deep resolved [CII]158μm spectroscopy obtained with ALMA and UV imaging from HST and we also detect UV continuum with MUSE. Ly α emission is clearly detected with S/N ≈ 40 and FWHM of 374 km s−1. Ly α and [C ii] are similarly extended beyond the UV, with effective radius reff = 2.1 ± 0.2 kpc for a single exponential model or r$_{\rmmore »eff, Ly\alpha , halo} = 3.45^{+1.08}_{-0.87}$ kpc when measured jointly with the UV continuum. The Ly α profile is broader and redshifted with respect to the [C ii] line (by 213 km s−1), but there are spatial variations that are qualitatively similar in both lines and coincide with resolved UV components. This suggests that the emission originates from two components with plausibly different H i column densities. We place VR7 in the context of other galaxies at similar and lower redshift. The Ly α halo scale length is similar at different redshifts and velocity shifts with respect to the systemic are typically smaller. Overall, we find little indications of a more neutral vicinity at higher redshift. This means that the local (∼10 kpc) neutral gas conditions that determine the observed Ly α properties in VR7 resemble the conditions in post-reionization galaxies.

    « less
  4. Abstract We present spatially resolved Hubble Space Telescope grism spectroscopy of 15 galaxies at z ∼ 0.8 drawn from the DEEP2 survey. We analyze H α +[N ii ], [S ii ], and [S iii ] emission on kiloparsec scales to explore which mechanisms are powering emission lines at high redshifts, testing which processes may be responsible for the well-known offset of high-redshift galaxies from the z ∼ 0 locus in the [O iii ]/H β versus [N ii ]/H α Baldwin—Phillips—Terlevich (BPT) excitation diagram. We study spatially resolved emission-line maps to examine evidence for active galactic nuclei (AGN), shocks,more »diffuse ionized gas (DIG), or escaping ionizing radiation, all of which may contribute to the BPT offsets observed in our sample. We do not find significant evidence of AGN in our sample and quantify that, on average, AGN would need to contribute ∼25% of the H α flux in the central resolution element in order to cause the observed BPT offsets. We find weak (2 σ ) evidence of DIG emission at low surface brightnesses, yielding an implied total DIG emission fraction of ∼20%, which is not significant enough to be the dominant emission line driver in our sample. In general we find that the observed emission is dominated by star-forming H ii regions. We discuss trends with demographic properties and the possible role of α -enhanced abundance patterns in the emission spectra of high-redshift galaxies. Our results indicate that photoionization modeling with stellar population synthesis inputs is a valid tool to explore the specific star formation properties which may cause BPT offsets, to be explored in future work.« less
  5. ABSTRACT The reionization of hydrogen is closely linked to the first structures in the Universe, so understanding the timeline of reionization promises to shed light on the nature of these early objects. In particular, transmission of Lyman alpha (Ly α) from galaxies through the intergalactic medium (IGM) is sensitive to neutral hydrogen in the IGM, so can be used to probe the reionization timeline. In this work, we implement an improved model of the galaxy UV luminosity to dark matter halo mass relation to infer the volume-averaged fraction of neutral hydrogen in the IGM from Ly α observations. Many models assume thatmore »UV-bright galaxies are hosted by massive dark matter haloes in overdense regions of the IGM, so reside in relatively large ionized regions. However, observations and N-body simulations indicate that scatter in the UV luminosity–halo mass relation is expected. Here, we model the scatter (though we assume the IGM topology is unaffected) and assess the impact on Ly α visibility during reionization. We show that UV luminosity–halo mass scatter reduces Ly α visibility compared to models without scatter, and that this is most significant for UV-bright galaxies. We then use our model with scatter to infer the neutral fraction, $\overline{x}_{\mathrm{ H}\,{\small I}}$, at z ∼ 7 using a sample of Lyman-break galaxies in legacy fields. We infer $\overline{x}_{\mathrm{ H}\,{\small I}} = 0.55_{-0.13}^{+0.11}$ with scatter, compared to $\overline{x}_{\mathrm{ H}\,{\small I}} = 0.59_{-0.14}^{+0.12}$ without scatter, a very slight decrease and consistent within the uncertainties. Finally, we place our results in the context of other constraints on the reionization timeline and discuss implications for future high-redshift galaxy studies.« less