No evidence for Lyman emission in spectroscopy of z > 7 candidate galaxies

Caruana, Joseph, Bunker, Andrew J, Wilkins, Stephen M, Stanway, Elizabeth, Lacy, Mark, Jarvis, Matt J, Lorenzoni, Silvio and Hickey, Samantha (2012) No evidence for Lyman emission in spectroscopy of z > 7 candidate galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 427 (4). pp. 3055-3070. ISSN 0035-8711

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We present Gemini/Gemini Near Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) spectroscopic observations of four z-band (z ≈ 7) dropout galaxies and Very Large Telescope (VLT)/XSHOOTER observations of one z-band dropout and three Y-band (z ≈ 8–9) dropout galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which were selected with Wide Field Camera 3 imaging on the Hubble Space Telescope. We find no evidence of Lyman α emission with a typical 5σ sensitivity of 5 × 10−18 erg cm−2 s−1, and use the upper limits on Lyman α flux and the broad-band magnitudes to constrain the rest-frame equivalent widths for this line emission. Accounting for incomplete spectral coverage, we survey 3.0 z-band dropouts and 2.9 Y-band dropouts to a Lyman α rest-frame equivalent width limit >120 Å (for an unresolved emission line); for an equivalent width limit of 50 Å the effective numbers of drop-outs surveyed fall to 1.2 z-band drop-outs and 1.5 Y-band drop-outs. A simple model where the fraction of high rest-frame equivalent width emitters follows the trend seen at z = 3–6.5 is inconsistent with our non-detections at z = 7–9 at the ≈1σ level for spectrally unresolved lines, which may indicate that a significant neutral H I fraction in the intergalactic medium suppresses the Lyman α line in z-drop and Y-drop galaxies at z > 7.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Depositing User: Stephen Wilkins
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2013 10:00
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 08:50

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