EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 438, Number 1, July IV 2005
Page(s) 71 - 85
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20052702


A&A 438, 71-85 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20052702

HST/ACS Lyman $\alpha$ imaging of the nearby starburst ESO 338-IG04

M. Hayes1, G. Östlin1, J. M. Mas-Hesse2, D. Kunth3, C. Leitherer4 and A. Petrosian5

1  Stockholm Observatory, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
    e-mail: matthew@astro.su.se
2  Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), E28850 Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
3  Institut d'Astrophysique, Paris (IAP), 98 bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4  Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
5  Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Armenian Branch, Byurakan 378433, Armenia

(Received 14 January 2005 / Accepted 13 March 2005)

Abstract
ESO 338-IG04 (Tololo 1924-416) is a well-known, luminous ( MV = -19.3) Blue Compact Galaxy in the local universe. Its complex morphology indicates a recent merger and/or close interaction, and it contains a central young starburst with compact star clusters of ages $\lesssim 40$ Myr. The galaxy was imaged using the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in the Lyman $\alpha$ line and continuum. Using the Starburst99 synthetic spectra and other imaging data from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, we developed a technique that allows us to make the first photometrically valid subtraction of continuum from the Ly$\alpha$ line. The method allows us to disentangle the degenerate effects of age and reddening by careful sampling of the UV continuum slope and 4000 Å discontinuity. Our results are in qualitative agreement with the models of Ly$\alpha$ escape being regulated by kinematical properties of the interstellar medium. The line-only image shows Ly$\alpha$ in both emission and absorption. Most notably, Ly$\alpha$ emission is seen from central bright young clusters and is in spatial agreement with features present in a longslit spectrum taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. Ly$\alpha$ is also seen in diffuse emission regions surrounding the central starburst where photons escape after one or more resonant scatterings in HI. Quantitative photometry reveals a total flux in the Ly$\alpha$ line of $f_{\rm Ly\alpha,TOT} = 194 \times 10^{-14}$ erg s-1 cm-2. The Ly$\alpha$ flux in a 10 $\times$ 20´´ elliptical aperture centred on the brightest central star cluster measures $f_{\rm Ly\alpha,IUE} = 134\times 10^{-14}$ erg s-1 cm-2 with an equivalent width of 22.6 Å. This is in close agreement with previous studies made using spectra from the IUE satellite to which our aperture was created to match. Thus we demonstrate that we have software in place to create line-only Ly$\alpha$ maps of nearby galaxies. Analysis of parameter dependencies show our technique to be largely parameter independent, producing Ly$\alpha$ maps indistinguishable from one another by eye and with Ly$\alpha$ fluxes consistent with one another to better than 50%. We see large amounts of diffuse Ly$\alpha$ emission that dominates the total Ly$\alpha$ output which are interpreted as centrally produced Ly$\alpha$ photons scattered by neutral hydrogen. By comparison of Ly$\alpha$ fluxes with H$\alpha$ fluxes of a previous study, we estimate that each observed Ly$\alpha$ photon has undergone $\gtrsim $2 additional scatterings. We see that Ly$\alpha$ line kinematics closely correlate with other kinematic tracers but, within these data, find no evidence for Ly$\alpha$ emission or absorption from star clusters being a function of age.


Key words: galaxies: starburst -- galaxies: individual: ESO 338-IG04 -- galaxies: ISM -- ultraviolet: galaxies -- X-rays: stars

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