Surface Brightness Profile of Lyman- α Halos out to 320 kpc in HETDEX

Maja Lujan Niemeyer, Eiichiro Komatsu, Chris Byrohl, Dustin Davis, Maximilian Fabricius, Karl Gebhardt, Gary J. Hill, Lutz Wisotzki, William P. Bowman, Robin Ciardullo, Daniel J. Farrow, Steven L. Finkelstein, Eric Gawiser, Caryl Gronwall, Donghui Jeong, Martin Landriau, Chenxu Liu, Erin Mentuch Cooper, Masami Ouchi, Donald P. SchneiderGregory R. Zeimann

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11 Scopus citations


We present the median-stacked Lyman-α (Lyα) surface brightness profiles of 968 spectroscopically selected Lyα emitting galaxies (LAEs) at redshifts 1.9 < z < 3.5 in the early data of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment. The selected LAEs are high-confidence Lyα detections with high signal-to-noise ratios observed with good seeing conditions (point-spread function FWHM <1.″4), excluding active galactic nuclei. The Lyα luminosities of the LAEs are 1042.4-1043 erg s-1. We detect faint emission in the median-stacked radial profiles at the level of (3.6±1.3)×10-20ergs-1cm-2arcsec-2 from the surrounding Lyα halos out to r ≃ 160 kpc (physical). The shape of the median-stacked radial profile is consistent at r < 80 kpc with that of much fainter LAEs at 3 < z < 4 observed with the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), indicating that the median-stacked Lyα profiles have similar shapes at redshifts 2 < z < 4 and across a factor of 10 in Lyα luminosity. While we agree with the results from the MUSE sample at r < 80 kpc, we extend the profile over a factor of two in radius. At r > 80 kpc, our profile is flatter than the MUSE model. The measured profile agrees at most radii with that of galaxies in the Byrohl et al. cosmological radiative transfer simulation at z = 3. This suggests that the surface brightness of a Lyα halo at r 2 100 kpc is dominated by resonant scattering of Lyα photons from star-forming regions in the central galaxy, whereas at r > 100 kpc, it is dominated by photons from galaxies in surrounding dark matter halos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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