On Ly α emission in z ∼ 3-6 UV-selected galaxies

D. Schaerer, S. De Barros, Daniel P Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context. Determining Lyα properties of distant galaxies is of great interest for various astrophysical studies. Aims. We examine how the strength of Lyα emission can be constrained from broad-band SED fits instead of relying on spectroscopy. Methods. We use our SED-fitting tool, which includes the effects of nebular emission and considers in particular Lyα emission as a free parameter, and we demonstrate our method with simulations of mock galaxies. With this tool we analyse a large sample of U, B, V, and i dropout galaxies with multi-band photometry. Results. We find significant trends in the fraction of galaxies with Lyα emission increasing both with redshift z and towards fainter magnitude (at fixed z), and similar trends for the Lyα equivalent width. Our inferred Lyα properties are in good agreement with the available spectroscopic observations and other data. Conclusions. These results demonstrate that the strength of Lyα emission in distant star-forming galaxies can be inferred quantitatively from broad-band SED fits, at least statistically for sufficiently large samples with good photometric coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA72
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume536
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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galaxies
broadband
trends
dropouts
photometry
astrophysics
spectroscopy
stars
simulation
method
trend

Keywords

  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: starburst
  • ultraviolet: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

On Ly α emission in z ∼ 3-6 UV-selected galaxies. / Schaerer, D.; De Barros, S.; Stark, Daniel P.

In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 536, A72, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Context. Determining Lyα properties of distant galaxies is of great interest for various astrophysical studies. Aims. We examine how the strength of Lyα emission can be constrained from broad-band SED fits instead of relying on spectroscopy. Methods. We use our SED-fitting tool, which includes the effects of nebular emission and considers in particular Lyα emission as a free parameter, and we demonstrate our method with simulations of mock galaxies. With this tool we analyse a large sample of U, B, V, and i dropout galaxies with multi-band photometry. Results. We find significant trends in the fraction of galaxies with Lyα emission increasing both with redshift z and towards fainter magnitude (at fixed z), and similar trends for the Lyα equivalent width. Our inferred Lyα properties are in good agreement with the available spectroscopic observations and other data. Conclusions. These results demonstrate that the strength of Lyα emission in distant star-forming galaxies can be inferred quantitatively from broad-band SED fits, at least statistically for sufficiently large samples with good photometric coverage.

AB - Context. Determining Lyα properties of distant galaxies is of great interest for various astrophysical studies. Aims. We examine how the strength of Lyα emission can be constrained from broad-band SED fits instead of relying on spectroscopy. Methods. We use our SED-fitting tool, which includes the effects of nebular emission and considers in particular Lyα emission as a free parameter, and we demonstrate our method with simulations of mock galaxies. With this tool we analyse a large sample of U, B, V, and i dropout galaxies with multi-band photometry. Results. We find significant trends in the fraction of galaxies with Lyα emission increasing both with redshift z and towards fainter magnitude (at fixed z), and similar trends for the Lyα equivalent width. Our inferred Lyα properties are in good agreement with the available spectroscopic observations and other data. Conclusions. These results demonstrate that the strength of Lyα emission in distant star-forming galaxies can be inferred quantitatively from broad-band SED fits, at least statistically for sufficiently large samples with good photometric coverage.

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