The rest-frame ultraviolet light profile shapes of Lyα-emitting galaxies at z = 3.1

Caryl Gronwall, Nicholas A. Bond, Robin Ciardullo, Eric Gawiser, Martin Altmann, Guillermo A. Blanc, John J. Feldmeier

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We present a morphological analysis of the rest-frame ultraviolet emission of 78 resolved, high signal-to-noise z ∼ 3.1 Lyα emitters (LAEs) in the Extended Chandra Deep Field-South. Using Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Surveys V-band images taken as part of the Galaxy Evolution from Morphology and SEDs, Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey, and Hubble Ultra Deep Field surveys, we investigate both single-component and multi-component LAEs, and derive concentration indices, Sérsic indices, ellipticities, and half-light radii for all resolved components and systems with a signal-to-noise >30. We show that, although the LAE population is heterogeneous in nature, most LAEs are highly concentrated, with a distribution of C values similar to that measured for field stars; this suggests that the diagnostic is a poor discriminator near the resolution limit. The LAEs also display a wide range of Sérsic indices (0 < n < 12), similar to that seen for galaxies in the local neighborhood. However, the majority of LAEs have n < 2, and a visual inspection of the images suggests that the small-n objects have extended or multimodal luminosity profiles, while the LAEs with n > 2 have compact components surrounded by diffuse emission. Moreover, unlike nearby spiral galaxies, whose distribution of ellipticities is flat, the LAE ellipticity distribution peaks near 1 - b/a ∼ 0.55. Thus, the population has more in common with z ∼ 3 Lyman-break galaxies than local star-forming objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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