Were progenitors of local L* galaxies Lyα emitters at high redshift?

Hidenobu Yajima, Yuexing Li, Qirong Zhu, Tom Abel, Caryl Gronwall, Robin Ciardullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Lyα emission has been observed from galaxies over a redshift span z 0-8.6. However, the evolution of high-redshift Lyα emitters (LAEs), and the link between these populations and local galaxies, remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the Lyα properties of progenitors of a local L* galaxy by combining cosmological hydrodynamic simulations with three-dimensional radiative transfer calculations using the new ART2 code. We find that the main progenitor (the most massive one) of a Milky-Way-like galaxy has a number of Lyα properties close to those of observed LAEs at z 2-6, but most of the fainter ones appear to fall below the detection limits of current surveys. The Lyα photon escape fraction depends sensitively on a number of physical properties of the galaxy, such as mass, star formation rate, and metallicity, as well as galaxy morphology and orientation. Moreover, we find that high-redshift LAEs show blueshifted Lyα line profiles characteristic of gas inflow, and that the Lyα emission by excitation cooling increases with redshift, and becomes dominant at z ≳ 6. Our results suggest that some observed LAEs at z 2-6 with luminosity of L Lyα 1042-1043 erg s-1 may be similar to the main progenitor of the Milky Way at high redshift, and that they may evolve into present-day L* galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume754
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

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emitters
galaxies
erg
radiative transfer
inflow
physical property
hydrodynamics
cooling
gas
Milky Way Galaxy
simulation
star formation rate
escape
metallicity
physical properties
luminosity
photons
profiles
gases
excitation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

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abstract = "The Lyα emission has been observed from galaxies over a redshift span z 0-8.6. However, the evolution of high-redshift Lyα emitters (LAEs), and the link between these populations and local galaxies, remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the Lyα properties of progenitors of a local L* galaxy by combining cosmological hydrodynamic simulations with three-dimensional radiative transfer calculations using the new ART2 code. We find that the main progenitor (the most massive one) of a Milky-Way-like galaxy has a number of Lyα properties close to those of observed LAEs at z 2-6, but most of the fainter ones appear to fall below the detection limits of current surveys. The Lyα photon escape fraction depends sensitively on a number of physical properties of the galaxy, such as mass, star formation rate, and metallicity, as well as galaxy morphology and orientation. Moreover, we find that high-redshift LAEs show blueshifted Lyα line profiles characteristic of gas inflow, and that the Lyα emission by excitation cooling increases with redshift, and becomes dominant at z ≳ 6. Our results suggest that some observed LAEs at z 2-6 with luminosity of L Lyα 1042-1043 erg s-1 may be similar to the main progenitor of the Milky Way at high redshift, and that they may evolve into present-day L* galaxies.",
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Were progenitors of local L* galaxies Lyα emitters at high redshift? / Yajima, Hidenobu; Li, Yuexing; Zhu, Qirong; Abel, Tom; Gronwall, Caryl; Ciardullo, Robin.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 754, No. 2, 118, 01.08.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Li, Yuexing

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AU - Ciardullo, Robin

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