Mapping UV properties throughout the Cosmic Horseshoe: Lessons from VLT-MUSE

Bethan L. James, Matt Auger, Max Pettini, Daniel P. Stark, Vasily Belokurov, Stefano Carniani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the first spatially-resolved rest-frame UV study of the gravitationally lensed galaxy, the ‘Cosmic Horseshoe’ (J1148+1930) at z = 2.38. Our gravitational lens model shows that the system is made up of four star-forming regions, each ∼4–8 kpc2 in size, from which we extract four spatially exclusive regional spectra. We study the interstellar and wind absorption lines, along with C iii] doublet emission lines, in each region to investigate any variation in emission/absorption line properties. The mapped C iii] emission shows distinct kinematical structure, with velocity offsets of ∼ ±50 km s1 between regions suggestive of a merging system, and a variation in equivalent width that indicates a change in ionisation parameter and/or metallicity between the regions. Absorption line velocities reveal a range of outflow strengths, with gas outflowing between −200 ≲ v(km s1) ≲ −50 relative to the systemic velocity of that region. Interestingly, the strongest gas outflow appears to emanate from the most diffuse star-forming region. The star-formation rates remain relatively constant (∼8–16 M yr1), mostly due to large uncertainties in reddening estimates. As such, the outflows appear to be ‘global’ rather than ‘locally’ sourced. We measure electron densities with a range of log(Ne)= 3.92–4.36 cm3, and point out that such high densities may be common when measured using the C iii] doublet due to its large critical density. Overall, our observations demonstrate that while it is possible to trace variations in large scale gas kinematics, detecting inhomogeneities in physical gas properties and their effects on the outflowing gas may be more difficult. This study provides important lessons for the spatially-resolved rest-frame UV studies expected with future observatories, such as JWST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Gravitational lensing: strong
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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