Disentangling the Physical Origin of Emission Line Ratio Offsets at High Redshift with Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy
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, 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 more »
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10326893
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
922
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
12
ISSN:
0004-637X
National Science Foundation
##### More Like this
1. Abstract

Existing star-forming vs. active galactic nucleus (AGN) classification schemes using optical emission-line diagnostics mostly fail for low-metallicity and/or highly star-forming galaxies, missing AGN in typicalz∼ 0 dwarfs. To recover AGN in dwarfs with strong emission lines (SELs), we present a classification scheme optimizing the use of existing optical diagnostics. We use Sloan Digital Sky Survey emission-line catalogs overlapping the volume- and mass-limited REsolved Spectroscopy Of a Local VolumE (RESOLVE) and Environmental COntex (ECO) surveys to determine the AGN percentage in SEL dwarfs. Our photoionization grids show that the [Oiii]/Hβversus [Sii]/Hαdiagram (Siiplot) and [Oiii]/Hβversus [Oi]/Hαdiagram (Oiplot) are less metallicity sensitive and more successful in identifying dwarf AGN than the popular [Oiii]/Hβversus [Nii]/Hαdiagnostic (Niiplot or “BPT diagram”). We identify a new category of “star-forming AGN” (SF-AGN) classified as star-forming by the Niiplot but as AGN by the Siiand/or Oiplots. Including SF-AGN, we find thez∼ 0 AGN percentage in dwarfs with SELs to be ∼3%–16%, far exceeding most previous optical estimates (∼1%). The large range in our dwarf AGN percentage reflects differences in spectral fitting methodologies between catalogs. The highly complete nature of RESOLVE and ECO allows us to normalize strong emission-line galaxy statistics to the full galaxy population, reducing the dwarfmore »

2. Abstract

We use Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 G102 and G141 grism spectroscopy to measure rest-frame optical emission-line ratios of 533 galaxies atz∼ 1.5 in the CANDELS LyαEmission at Reionization survey. We compare [Oiii]/Hβversus [Sii]/(Hα+ [Nii]) as an “unVO87” diagram for 461 galaxies and [Oiii]/Hβversus [Neiii]/[Oii] as an “OHNO” diagram for 91 galaxies. The unVO87 diagram does not effectively separate active galactic nuclei (AGN) and [Nev] sources from star-forming galaxies, indicating that the unVO87 properties of star-forming galaxies evolve with redshift and overlap with AGN emission-line signatures atz> 1. The OHNO diagram does effectively separate X-ray AGN and [Nev]-emitting galaxies from the rest of the population. We find that the [Oiii]/Hβline ratios are significantly anticorrelated with stellar mass and significantly correlated with$log(LHβ)$, while [Sii]/(Hα+ [Nii]) is significantly anticorrelated with$log(LHβ)$. Comparison with MAPPINGS V photoionization models indicates that these trends are consistent with lower metallicity and higher ionization in low-mass and high-star formation rate (SFR) galaxies. We do not find evidence for redshift evolution of the emission-line ratios outside of the correlations with mass and SFR. Our results suggest that the OHNO diagram of [Oiii]/Hβversus [Neiii]/[Oii] willmore »

3. 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 requiremore »
4. Abstract

The Baldwin, Philips, & Terlevich diagram of [Oiii]/Hβversus [Nii]/Hα(hereafter N2-BPT) has long been used as a tool for classifying galaxies based on the dominant source of ionizing radiation. Recent observations have demonstrated that galaxies atz∼ 2 reside offset from local galaxies in the N2-BPT space. In this paper, we conduct a series of controlled numerical experiments to understand the potential physical processes driving this offset. We model nebular line emission in a large sample of galaxies, taken from thesimbacosmological hydrodynamic galaxy formation simulation, using thecloudyphotoionization code to compute the nebular line luminosities from Hiiregions. We find that the observed shift toward higher [Oiii]/Hβand [Nii]/Hαvalues at high redshift arises from sample selection: when we consider only the most massive galaxiesM*∼ 1010–11M, the offset naturally appears, due to their high metallicities. We predict that deeper observations that probe lower-mass galaxies will reveal galaxies that lie on a locus comparable toz∼ 0 observations. Even when accounting for samples-selection effects, we find that there is a subtle mismatch between simulations and observations. To resolve this discrepancy, we investigate the impact of varying ionization parameters, Hiiregion densities, gas-phase abundance patterns, and increasing radiation field hardness on N2-BPT diagrams. We find that either decreasing themore »

5. ABSTRACT

The ionizing photon escape fraction [Lyman continuum (LyC) fesc] of star-forming galaxies is the single greatest unknown in the reionization budget. Stochastic sightline effects prohibit the direct separation of LyC leakers from non-leakers at significant redshifts. Here we circumvent this uncertainty by inferring fesc using resolved (R > 4000) Lyman α (Lyα) profiles from the X-SHOOTER Lyα survey at z = 2 (XLS-z2). With empirically motivated criteria, we use Lyα profiles to select leakers ($f_{\mathrm{ esc}} > 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) and non-leakers ($f_{\mathrm{ esc}} < 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) from a representative sample of >0.2L* Lyman α emitters (LAEs). We use median stacked spectra of these subsets over λrest ≈ 1000–8000 Å to investigate the conditions for LyC fesc. Our stacks show similar mass, metallicity, MUV, and βUV. We find the following differences between leakers versus non-leakers: (i) strong nebular C iv and He ii emission versus non-detections; (ii) [O iii]/[O ii] ≈ 8.5 versus ≈3; (iii) Hα/Hβ indicating no dust versus E(B − V) ≈ 0.3; (iv) Mg ii emission close to the systemic velocity versus redshifted, optically thick Mg ii; and (v) Lyα fesc of ${\approx} 50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ versus ${\approx} 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. The extreme equivalent widths (EWs) in leakers ([O iii]+$\mathrm{ H}\beta \approx 1100$ Å rest frame)more »