3 years ago

A new model framework for circumgalactic Ly$\alpha$ radiative transfer constrained by galaxy-Ly$\alpha$ forest clustering.

Mark Dijkstra, Koki Kakiichi

We present a new perturbative approach to "constrained Ly$\alpha$ radiative transfer'" (RT) through the circum- and inter-galactic medium (CGM and IGM). We constrain the HI content and kinematics of the CGM and IGM in a physically motivated model, using the galaxy-Ly$\alpha$ forest clustering data from spectroscopic galaxy surveys in QSO fields at $z\sim2-3$. This enables us to quantify the impact of the CGM/IGM on Ly$\alpha$ emission in an observationally constrained, realistic cosmological environment. Our model predicts that the CGM and IGM at these redshifts transmit $\approx80~\%$ of Ly$\alpha$ photons after having escaped from galaxies. This implies that while the inter-stellar medium primarily regulates Ly$\alpha$ escape, the CGM has a non-negligible impact on the observed Ly$\alpha$ line properties and the inferred Ly$\alpha$ escape fraction, even at $z\sim 2-3$. Ly$\alpha$ scattering in the CGM and IGM further introduces an environmental dependence in the (apparent) Ly$\alpha$ escape fraction, and the observed population of Ly$\alpha$ emitting galaxies: the CGM/IGM more strongly suppresses direct Ly$\alpha$ emission from galaxies in overdense regions in the Universe, and redistributes this emission into brighter Ly$\alpha$ haloes. The resulting mean surface brightness profile of the Ly$\alpha$ haloes is generally found to be a power-law $\propto r^{-2.4}$. Although our model still contains arbitrariness, our results demonstrate how (integral field) spectroscopic surveys of galaxies in QSO fields constrain circumgalactic Ly$\alpha$ RT, and we discuss the potential of these models for studying CGM physics and cosmology.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1710.10053

DOI: arXiv:1710.10053v2

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