Evolution in the properties of Lyman-α emitters from redshifts z ~ 3 to z ~ 2*
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
3 Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
4 Stockholm Observatory, Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 21 January 2009
Context. Narrow-band surveys to detect Lyα emitters are powerful tools for identifying high, and very high, redshift galaxies. Although samples are increasing at redshifts , the nature of these galaxies is still poorly known. The number of galaxies detected at redshifts below are also small.
Aims. We study the properties of Lyα emitters and compare them with those of Lyα emitters.
Methods. We present narrow-band imaging made with the MPG/ESO 2.2m telescope and the WFI (Wide Field Imager) detector. Using this data, we have searched for emission-line objects. We find 170 candidate typical Lyα emitters and 17 candidates that we regard as high UV-transmission Lyα emitters. We have derived the magnitudes of these objects in 8 photometric bands from u* to Ks, and studied whether they have X-ray and/or radio counterparts.
Results. We demonstrate that there has been significant evolution in the properties of Lyα emitters between redshift and . The spread in spectral energy distributions (SEDs) at the lower redshift is larger and we detect a significant AGN contribution in the sample. The distribution of the equivalent widths is narrower than at , with only a few candidates with rest-frame equivalent width above the predicted limit of 240 Å. The star formation rates derived from the Lyα emission compared to those derived from the UV emission are lower by on average a factor of , indicative of a significant absorption by dust.
Conclusions. Lyα emitters at redshift may be more evolved than Lyα emitters at higher redshift. The red SEDs imply more massive, older and/or dustier galaxies at lower redshift than observed at higher redshifts. The decrease in equivalent widths and star formation rates indicate more quiescent galaxies, with in general less star formation than in higher redshift galaxies. At , AGN appear to be more abundant and also to contribute more to the Lyα emitting population.
Key words: cosmology: observations / galaxies: high redshift
© ESO, 2009