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THE CURIOUS CASE OF Ly alpha EMITTERS: GROWING YOUNGER FROM z similar to 3 to z similar to 2?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy.
Number of Authors: 42012 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, E-ISSN 2041-8213, Vol. 751, no 2, article id L26Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ly alpha emitting (LAE) galaxies are thought to be progenitors of present-day L* galaxies. Clustering analyses have suggested that LAEs at z similar to 3 might evolve into LAEs at z similar to 2, but it is unclear whether the physical nature of these galaxies is compatible with this hypothesis. Several groups have investigated the properties of LAEs using spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting, but direct comparison of their results is complicated by inconsistencies in the treatment of the data and in the assumptions made in modeling the stellar populations, which are degenerate with the effects of galaxy evolution. By using the same data analysis pipeline and SED fitting software on two stacked samples of LAEs at z = 3.1 and z = 2.1, and by eliminating several systematic uncertainties that might cause a discrepancy, we determine that the physical properties of these two samples of galaxies are dramatically different. LAEs at z = 3.1 are found to be old (age similar to 1 Gyr) and metal-poor (Z < 0.2 Z(circle dot)), while LAEs at z = 2.1 appear to be young (age similar to 50 Myr) and metal-rich (Z > Z(circle dot)). The difference in the observed stellar ages makes it very unlikely that z = 3.1 LAEs evolve directly into z = 2.1 LAEs. Larger samples of galaxies, studies of individual objects, and spectroscopic measurements of metallicity at these redshifts are needed to confirm this picture, which is difficult to reconcile with the effects of 1 Gyr of cosmological evolution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 751, no 2, article id L26
Keywords [en]
Galaxy: evolution
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162406DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/751/2/L26ISI: 000304205000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-162406DiVA, id: diva2:1287634
Available from: 2019-02-11 Created: 2019-02-11 Last updated: 2019-02-11Bibliographically approved

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