NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0468

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0468


PI: Karl Gebhardt, University of Texas, gebhardt@astro.utexas.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 1 University Station, C1400, Austin, TX, USA

CoI: Taylor Chonis, University of Texas
CoI: Robin Ciardullo, Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Josh Adams, University of Texas
CoI: Steven Finkelstein, Texas A&M University
CoI: Caryl Gronwall, Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Gary Hill, McDonald Observatory

Title: The Physical State of Lyman-Alpha Emitters

Abstract: Ly(alpha) emitters (LAEs) in the early universe are quickly becoming one of our most important tools for studying the initial stages of galaxy formation. LAEs have the highest mass-specific star-formation rates known, they are relatively dust free, and they are believed to be the progenitors of today's L^* galaxies. To probe the physics of these objects, we propose to use the Goodman spectrograph on SOAR to obtain high resolution (R ~ 3000) spectra around Ly(alpha) for a sample of z~ 2.3 LAEs with previous measurements of H(alpha), H(beta), [O III], and [N II]\null. Using these data, we will be able to build a physical model for the emission mechanism of LAEs, and discriminate between models which involve strong outflows, and scenarios which invoke resonant scattering within the intergalactic medium. Our LAE sample is unique, as it is based on an extensive (170 arcmin^2) blind IFU-spectroscopic survey of the GOODS-N, MUNICS, and COSMOS fields. Our low-resolution discovery spectra have allowed us to select targets for which the critical diagnostic lines of the rest-frame optical are accessible with H and K-band spectroscopy. We have already obtained Keck NIR spectra of our targets; the proposed observations for high-resolution Ly(alpha) spectroscopy will allow to develop a robust understanding of these important and elusive objects.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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