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  1. Abstract

    We present the first results from Chemical Evolution Constrained Using Ionized Lines in Interstellar Aurorae (CECILIA), a Cycle 1 JWST NIRSpec/MSA program that uses ultra-deep ∼30 hr G235M/F170LP observations to target multiple electron temperature-sensitive auroral lines in the spectra of 33 galaxies atz∼ 1–3. Using a subset of 23 galaxies, we construct two ∼600 object-hour composite spectra, both with and without the stellar continuum, and use these to investigate the characteristic rest-optical (λrest≈ 5700–8500 Å) spectrum of star-forming galaxies at the peak epoch of cosmic star formation. Emission lines of eight different elements (H, He, N, O, Si, S, Ar, and Ni) are detected, with most of these features observed to be ≲3% the strength of Hα. We report the characteristic strength of three auroral features ([Nii]λ5756, [Siii]λ6313, and [Oii]λλ7322, 7332), as well as other semi-strong and faint emission lines, including forbidden [Niii]λλ7380, 7414 and permitted Oiλ8449, some of which have never before been observed outside of the local Universe. Using these measurements, we findTe[Nii] = 13,630 ± 2540 K, representing the first measurement of electron temperature using [Nii] in the high-redshift Universe. We also see evidence for broad line emission with a FWHM of536167+45km s−1; the broad component of Hαis 6.01%–28.31% the strength of the narrow component and likely arises from star-formation-driven outflows. Finally, we briefly comment on the feasibility of obtaining large samples of faint emission lines using JWST in the future.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Nyx is a nearby, prograde, and high-eccentricity stellar stream physically contained in the thick disk, but its origin is unknown. Nyx could be the remnant of a disrupted dwarf galaxy, in which case the associated dark matter substructure could affect terrestrial dark matter direct-detection experiments. Alternatively, Nyx could be a signature of the Milky Way’s disk formation and evolution. To determine the origin of Nyx, we obtained high-resolution spectroscopy of 34 Nyx stars using Keck/HIRES and Magellan/MIKE. A differential chemical abundance analysis shows that most Nyx stars reside in a metal-rich ([Fe/H] > −1) high-αcomponent that is chemically indistinguishable from the thick disk. This rules out the originally suggested scenario that Nyx is the remnant of a single massive dwarf galaxy merger. However, we also identify 5 substantially more metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] ∼ −2.0) whose chemical abundances are similar to those of the metal-weak thick disk. It remains unclear how stars that are chemically identical to the thick disk can be on such prograde, high-eccentricity orbits. We suggest two most likely scenarios: that Nyx is the result of an early minor dwarf galaxy merger, or that it is a record of the early spin-up of the Milky Way disk—although neither perfectly reproduces the chemodynamic observations. The most likely formation scenarios suggest that future spectroscopic surveys should find Nyx-like structures outside of the solar neighborhood.

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  3. Abstract

    The resonantly scattered Lyαline illuminates the extended halos of neutral hydrogen in the circumgalactic medium of galaxies. We present integral field Keck Cosmic Web Imager observations of double-peaked, spatially extended Lyαemission in 12 relatively low-mass (M∼ 109M)z∼ 2 galaxies characterized by extreme nebular emission lines. Using individual spaxels and small bins as well as radially binned profiles of larger regions, we find that for most objects in the sample the Lyαblue-to-red peak ratio increases, the peak separation decreases, and the fraction of flux emerging at line center increases with radius. We use new radiative transfer simulations to model each galaxy with a clumpy, multiphase outflow with radially varying outflow velocity, and self-consistently apply the same velocity model to the low-ionization interstellar absorption lines. These models reproduce the trends of peak ratio, peak separation, and trough depth with radius, and broadly reconcile outflow velocities inferred from Lyαand absorption lines. The galaxies in our sample are well-described by a model in which neutral, outflowing clumps are embedded in a hotter, more highly ionized inter-clump medium (ICM), whose residual neutral content produces absorption at the systemic redshift. The peak ratio, peak separation, and trough flux fraction are primarily governed by the line-of-sight component of the outflow velocity, the Hicolumn density, and the residual neutral density in the ICM respectively. The azimuthal asymmetries in the line profile further suggest nonradial gas motions at large radii and variations in the Hicolumn density in the outer halos.

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    The connection between the escape fraction of ionizing radiation (fesc) and the properties of galaxies, such as stellar mass ($\rm M_{\rm *}$), age, star-formation rate (SFR), and dust content, are key inputs for reionization models, but many of these relationships remain untested at high redshift. We present an analysis of a sample of 96 $z$ ∼ 3 galaxies from the Keck Lyman Continuum Spectroscopic Survey (KLCS). These galaxies have both sensitive Keck/LRIS spectroscopic measurements of the Lyman continuum (LyC) region, and multiband photometry that places constraints on stellar population parameters. We construct composite spectra from subsamples binned as a function of galaxy property and quantify the ionizing-photon escape for each composite. We find a significant anti-correlation between fesc and $\rm M_{\rm *}$, consistent with predictions from cosmological zoom-in simulations. We also find significant anti-correlation between fesc and E(B−V), encoding the underlying physics of LyC escape in our sample. We also find no significant correlation between fesc and either stellar age or specific SFR (= SFR/$\rm M_{\rm *}$), challenging interpretations that synchronize recent star formation and favorable conditions for ionizing escape. The galaxy properties now shown to correlate with fesc in the KLCS are Lyα equivalent width, UV Luminosity, $\rm M_{\rm *}$, SFR, and E(B−V), but not age or sSFR. This comprehensive analysis of galaxy properties and LyC escape at high redshift will be used to guide future models and observations of the reionization epoch.

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    We examine the azimuthal variations in gas-phase metallicity profiles in simulated Milky Way-mass disc galaxies from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE-2) cosmological zoom-in simulation suite, which includes a sub-grid turbulent metal mixing model. We produce spatially resolved maps of the discs at z ≈ 0 with pixel sizes ranging from 250 to 750 pc, analogous to modern integral field unit galaxy surveys, mapping the gas-phase metallicities in both the cold and dense gas and the ionized gas correlated with H ii regions. We report that the spiral arms alternate in a pattern of metal rich and metal poor relative to the median metallicity of the order of ≲0.1 dex, appearing generally in this sample of flocculent spirals. The pattern persists even in a simulation with different strengths of metal mixing, indicating that the pattern emerges from physics above the sub-grid scale. Local enrichment does not appear to be the dominant source of the azimuthal metallicity variations at z ≈ 0: there is no correlation with local star formation on these spatial scales. Rather, the arms are moving radially inwards and outwards relative to each other, carrying their local metallicity gradients with them radially before mixing into the larger-scale interstellar medium. We propose that the arms act as freeways channeling relatively metal poor gas radially inwards, and relatively enriched gas radially outwards.

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  6. Abstract The chemical abundance patterns of gas and stars in galaxies are powerful probes of galaxies’ star formation histories and the astrophysics of galaxy assembly but are challenging to measure with confidence in distant galaxies. In this paper, we report the first measurements of the correlation between stellar mass ( M * ) and multiple tracers of chemical enrichment (including O, N, and Fe) in individual z ∼ 2–3 galaxies, using a sample of 195 star-forming galaxies from the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey. The galaxies’ chemical abundances are inferred using photoionization models capable of reconciling high-redshift galaxies’ observed extreme rest-UV and rest-optical spectroscopic properties. We find that the M * –O/H relation for our sample is relatively shallow, with moderately large scatter, and is offset ∼0.35 dex higher than the corresponding M * –Fe/H relation. The two relations have very similar slopes, indicating a high level of α -enhancement—O/Fe ≈ 2.2 × (O/Fe) ⊙ —across two decades in M * . The M * –N/H relation has the steepest slope and largest intrinsic scatter, which likely results from the fact that many z ∼ 2 galaxies are observed near or past the transition from “primary” to “secondary” N production, and may reflect uncertainties in the astrophysical origin of N. Together, these results suggest that z ∼ 2 galaxies are old enough to have seen substantial enrichment from intermediate-mass stars, but are still young enough that Type Ia supernovae have not had time to contribute significantly to their enrichment. 
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  7. Abstract

    We present a spectroscopic analysis of 44 low-luminosity host galaxies of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) detected by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), using hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur emission lines to measure metallicities and star formation rates. We find no statistically significant evidence that the star formation activity and metallicities of the galaxies in our sample are inconsistent with galaxies of similar luminosities and masses. We identify two 3σoutlier galaxies that have high metallicities for their stellar masses, but find that their other properties are consistent with general galaxies. The overall consistency between our sample and general galaxy samples further strengthens the evidence from more luminous SN Ia host galaxy samples that SN Ia host galaxies are typical.

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  8. ABSTRACT We present the first statistical analysis of kinematically resolved, spatially extended $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission around z = 2–3 galaxies in the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey (KBSS) using the Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI). Our sample of 59 star-forming galaxies (zmed = 2.29) comprises the subset with typical KCWI integration times of ∼5 h and with existing imaging data from the Hubble Space Telescope and/or adaptive optics-assisted integral field spectroscopy. The high-resolution images were used to evaluate the azimuthal dependence of the diffuse $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission with respect to the stellar continuum within projected galactocentric distances of ≲30 proper kpc. We introduce cylindrically projected 2D spectra (CP2D) that map the averaged $\rm Ly\alpha$ spectral profile over a specified range of azimuthal angle, as a function of impact parameter around galaxies. The averaged CP2D spectrum of all galaxies shows clear signatures of $\rm Ly\alpha$ resonant scattering by outflowing gas. We stacked the CP2D spectra of individual galaxies over ranges of azimuthal angle with respect to their major axes. The extended $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission along the galaxy principal axes is statistically indistinguishable, with residual asymmetry of ≤2 per cent (∼2σ) of the integrated $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission. The symmetry implies that the $\rm Ly\alpha$ scattering medium is dominated by outflows in all directions within 30 kpc. Meanwhile, we find that the blueshifted component of $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission is marginally stronger along galaxy minor axes for galaxies with relatively weak $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission. We speculate that this weak directional dependence of $\rm Ly\alpha$ emission becomes discernible only when the $\rm Ly\alpha$ escape fraction is low. These discoveries highlight the need for similar analyses in simulations with $\rm Ly\alpha$ radiative transfer modelling. 
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  9. 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 the ionization parameter or increasing the N/O ratio of galaxies at fixed O/H can move galaxies along a self-similar arc in N2-BPT space that is occupied by high-redshift galaxies.

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