3 years ago

The Mean Ultraviolet Spectrum of a Representative Sample of Faint z~3 Lyman Alpha Emitters.

Thomas Fletcher, Brant E. Robertson, Richard S. Ellis, Ikuru Iwata, Kimihiko Nakajima

We discuss the rest-frame ultraviolet emission line spectra of a large (~100) sample of low luminosity redshift z~3.1 Lyman alpha emitters (LAEs) drawn from a Subaru imaging survey in the SSA22 survey field. Our earlier work based on smaller samples indicated that such sources have high [OIII]/[OII] line ratios possibly arising from a hard ionising spectrum that may be typical of similar sources in the reionisation era. With optical spectra secured from VLT/VIMOS, we re-examine the nature of the ionising radiation in a larger sample using the strength of the high ionisation diagnostic emission lines of CIII]1909, CIV1549, HeII1640, and OIII]1661,1666 in various stacked subsets. Our analysis confirms earlier suggestions of a correlation between the strength of Ly-alpha and CIII] emission and we find similar trends with broad band UV luminosity and rest-frame UV colour. Using various diagnostic line ratios and our stellar photoionisation models, we determine both the gas phase metallicity and hardness of the ionisation spectrum characterised by xi_ion - the number of Lyman continuum photons per UV luminosity. We confirm our earlier suggestion that xi_ion is significantly larger for LAEs than for continuum-selected Lyman break galaxies, particularly for those LAEs with the faintest UV luminosities. We briefly discuss the implications of our result if such metal-poor intensely star-forming systems are typical of those in the era of cosmic reionisation.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.03085

DOI: arXiv:1801.03085v1

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