MUSE integral-field spectroscopy towards the Frontier Fields cluster Abell S1063. II. Properties of low luminosity Lyman α emitters at z > 3

Karman, W., Caputi, K. I., Caminha, G. B., Gronke, M., Grillo, C., Balestra, I., Rosati, P., Vanzella, E., Coe, D., Dijkstra, M., Koekemoer, A. M., McLeod, D., Mercurio, A. & Nonino, M. 1-Feb-2017 In : Astronomy & Astrophysics. 599

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  • W. Karman
  • K. I. Caputi
  • G. B. Caminha
  • M. Gronke
  • C. Grillo
  • I. Balestra
  • P. Rosati
  • E. Vanzella
  • D. Coe
  • M. Dijkstra
  • A. M. Koekemoer
  • D. McLeod
  • A. Mercurio
  • M. Nonino
In spite of their conjectured importance for the Epoch of Reionization, the properties of low-mass galaxies are currently still very much under debate. In this article, we study the stellar and gaseous properties of faint, low-mass galaxies at z > 3. We observed the Frontier Fields cluster Abell S1063 with MUSE over a 2 arcmin2 field, and combined integral-field spectroscopy with gravitational lensing to perform a blind search for intrinsically faint Lyα emitters (LAEs). We determined in total the redshift of 172 galaxies of which 14 are lensed LAEs at z = 3-6.1. We increased the number of spectroscopically-confirmed multiple-image families from 6 to 17 and updated our gravitational-lensing model accordingly. The lensing-corrected Lyα luminosities are with LLyα ≲ 1041.5 erg/s among the lowest for spectroscopically confirmed LAEs at any redshift. We used expanding gaseous shell models to fit the Lyα line profile, and find low column densities and expansion velocities. This is, to our knowledge, the first time that gaseous properties of such faint galaxies at z ≳ 3 are reported. We performed SED modelling to broadband photometry from the U band through the infrared to determine the stellar properties of these LAEs. The stellar masses are very low (106-8M⊙ ), and are accompanied by very young ages of 1-100 Myr. The very high specific star-formation rates ( 100 Gyr-1) are characteristic of starburst galaxies, and we find that most galaxies will double their stellar mass in ≲20 Myr. The UV-continuum slopes β are low in our sample, with β <-2 for all galaxies with M⋆ <108M⊙. We conclude that our low-mass galaxies at 3 <z <6 are forming stars at higher rates when correcting for stellar mass effects than seen locally or in more massive galaxies. The young stellar populations with high star-formation rates and low H i column densities lead to continuum slopes and LyC-escape fractions expected for a scenario where low mass galaxies reionise the Universe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1-Feb-2017


  • galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: distances and redshifts, galaxies: clusters: individual: Abell S1063, gravitational lensing: strong, galaxies: evolution, techniques: imaging spectroscopy

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