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Published June 1, 2013 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

A New Population of High-z, Dusty Lyα Emitters and Blobs Discovered by WISE: Feedback Caught in the Act?


By combining data from the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission with optical spectroscopy from the W. M. Keck telescope, we discover a mid-IR color criterion that yields a 78% success rate in identifying rare, typically radio-quiet, 1.6 ≾ z ≾ 4.6 dusty Lyα emitters (LAEs). Of these, at least 37% have emission extended on scales of 30-100 kpc and are considered Lyα "blobs" (LABs). The objects have a surface density of only ~0.1 deg^(–2), making them rare enough that they have been largely missed in deep, small area surveys. We measured spectroscopic redshifts for 92 of these galaxies, and find that the LAEs (LABs) have a median redshift of 2.3 (2.5). The WISE photometry coupled with data from Herschel (Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA) reveals that these galaxies are in the Hyper Luminous IR galaxy regime (L IR ≳ 10^(13)-10^(14) L_☉) and have warm colors. They are typically more luminous and warmer than other dusty, z ~ 2 populations such as submillimeter-selected galaxies and dust-obscured galaxies. These traits are commonly associated with the dust being illuminated by intense active galactic nucleus activity. We hypothesize that the combination of spatially extended Lyα, large amounts of warm IR-luminous dust, and rarity (implying a short-lived phase) can be explained if the galaxies are undergoing brief, intense "feedback" transforming them from an extreme dusty starburst/QSO into a mature galaxy.

Additional Information

© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 October 18; accepted 2013 April 2; published 2013 May 7. The authors would like to thank the anonymous referee for suggestions that improved the clarity of this paper. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit ofMauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Facilities: WISE, Keck:I (LRIS), Herschel (PACS, SPIRE)

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Published - Bridge_2013_ApJ_769_91.pdf

Submitted - 1205.4030v1.pdf


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