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The Lyman Continuum Escape Fraction of Emission Line-selected z ∼ 2.5 Galaxies Is Less Than 15%

Rutkowski, Michael J. and Scarlata, Claudia and Henry, Alaina and Hayes, Matthew and Mehta, Vihang and Hathi, Nimish and Cohen, Seth and Windhorst, Rogier and Koekemoer, Anton M. and Teplitz, Harry I. and Haardt, Francesco and Siana, Brian (2017) The Lyman Continuum Escape Fraction of Emission Line-selected z ∼ 2.5 Galaxies Is Less Than 15%. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 841 (2). Art. No. L27. ISSN 2041-8205.

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Recent work suggests that strong emission line, star-forming galaxies (SFGs) may be significant Lyman continuum leakers. We combine archival Hubble Space Telescope broadband ultraviolet and optical imaging (F275W and F606W, respectively) with emission line catalogs derived from WFC3 IR G141 grism spectroscopy to search for escaping Lyman continuum (LyC) emission from homogeneously selected z ~ 2.5 SFGs. We detect no escaping Lyman continuum from SFGs selected on [O ii] nebular emission (N = 208) and, within a narrow redshift range, on [O iii]/[O ii]. We measure 1σ upper limits to the LyC escape fraction relative to the non-ionizing UV continuum from [O ii] emitters, f _(esc) ≾ 5.6%, and strong [O iii]/[O ii] > 5 ELGs, f _(esc) ≾ 14.0%. Our observations are not deep enough to detect f _(esc) ~ 10% typical of low-redshift Lyman continuum emitters. However, we find that this population represents a small fraction of the star-forming galaxy population at z ~ 2. Thus, unless the number of extreme emission line galaxies grows substantially to z ≳ 6, such galaxies may be insufficient for reionization. Deeper survey data in the rest-frame ionizing UV will be necessary to determine whether strong line ratios could be useful for pre-selecting LyC leakers at high redshift.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Scarlata, Claudia0000-0002-9136-8876
Henry, Alaina0000-0002-6586-4446
Mehta, Vihang0000-0001-7166-6035
Hathi, Nimish0000-0001-6145-5090
Koekemoer, Anton M.0000-0002-6610-2048
Teplitz, Harry I.0000-0002-7064-5424
Siana, Brian0000-0002-4935-9511
Additional Information:© 2017 American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 March 14. Accepted 2017 May 12. Published 2017 June 1. This research was supported by NASA NNX13AI55G, HST-AR-12821.01, and HST-GO-13352 using observations from NASA/ESA HST, operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. M.H. acknowledges the support of the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. This work was funded by NASA JWST Interdisciplinary Scientist grants to R.A.W., NAG5-12460 and NNX14AN10G from GSFC, and HST-AR-13877.001-A and HST-AR-14591.001-A.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)UNSPECIFIED
Swedish National Space Board (SNSB)UNSPECIFIED
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: general; galaxies: star formation; ultraviolet: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170602-135854273
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Michael J. Rutkowski et al 2017 ApJL 841 L27
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:77924
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Jun 2017 01:28
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:03

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