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Slicing COSMOS with SC4K: the evolution of typical Ly alpha emitters and the Ly alpha escape fraction from z ˜ 2 to 6
Sobral, David; Santos, Sérgio; Matthee, Jorryt; Paulino-Afonso, Ana; Ribeiro, Bruno; Calhau, João; Khostovan, Ali A.
AA(Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK; Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, NL-2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands 0000-0001-8823-4845), AB(Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK), AC(Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, NL-2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands), AD(Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK; Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Universidade de Lisboa, OAL, Tapada da Ajuda, P-1349-018 Lisboa, Portugal; Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Edifício C8, Campo Grande, P-1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal 0000-0002-0943-0694), AE(Centro de Computação Gráfica, CVIG, Campus de Azurém, P-4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal), AF(Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK), AG(Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, 900 University Ave., Riverside, CA 92521, USA)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 476, Issue 4, p.4725-4752 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: luminosity function, mass function, galaxies: statistics
Abstract Copyright:
2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


We present and explore deep narrow- and medium-band data obtained with the Subaru and the Isaac Newton Telescopes in the ˜2 deg2 COSMOS field. We use these data as an extremely wide, low-resolution (R ˜ 20-80) Integral Field Unit survey to slice through the COSMOS field and obtain a large sample of ˜4000 Ly alpha emitters (LAEs) from z ˜ 2 to 6 in 16 redshift slices (SC4K). We present new Ly alpha luminosity functions (LFs) covering a comoving volume of ˜108 Mpc3. SC4K extensively complements ultradeep surveys, jointly covering over 4 dex in Ly alpha luminosity and revealing a global (2.5 < z < 6) synergy LF with alpha =-1.93^{+0.12}_{-0.12}, log _{10}Phi ^*_{Lyalpha }={-3.45^{+0.22}_{-0.29}} Mpc-3, and log _{10}L^*_{Lyalpha }={42.93^{+0.15}_{-0.11}} erg s-1. The Schechter component of the Ly alpha LF reveals a factor ˜5 rise in L^*_Lyalpha and a ˜7 × decline in Phi ^*_{Lyalpha } from z ˜ 2 to 6. The data reveal an extra power-law (or Schechter) component above LLy alpha ≈ 1043.3 erg s-1 at z ˜ 2.2-3.5 and we show that it is partially driven by X-ray and radio active galactic nucleus (AGN), as their Ly alpha LF resembles the excess. The power-law component vanishes and/or is below our detection limits above z > 3.5, likely linked with the evolution of the AGN population. The Ly alpha luminosity density rises by a factor ˜2 from z ˜ 2 to 3 but is then found to be roughly constant (1.1^{+0.2}_{-0.2}× 10^{40} erg s-1 Mpc-3) to z ˜ 6, despite the ˜0.7 dex drop in ultraviolet (UV) luminosity density. The Ly alpha/UV luminosity density ratio rises from 4 ± 1 per cent to 30 ± 6 per cent from z ˜ 2.2 to 6. Our results imply a rise of a factor of ≈2 in the global ionization efficiency (xiion) and a factor ≈4 ± 1 in the Ly alpha escape fraction from z ˜ 2 to 6, hinting for evolution in both the typical burstiness/stellar populations and even more so in the typical interstellar medium conditions allowing Ly alpha photons to escape.
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