Volume 375, Number 3, September 2001
|Page(s)||805 - 813|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 September 2001|
Constraints on the Lyman continuum radiation from galaxies: First results with FUSE on Mrk 54*
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, Traverse du Siphon, Les Trois Lucs, BP 8, 13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France
2 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
3 Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
4 ISO Data Center, ESA Astrophysics Division, PO Box 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain
Corresponding author: J.-M. Deharveng, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 14 June 2001
We present Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer observations of the star-forming galaxy Mrk 54 at . The Lyman continuum radiation is not detected above the Hi absorption edge in our Galaxy. An upper limit is evaluated by comparison with the background measured in regions of the detector adjacent to the observed spectrum. A spectral window of 16 Å, reasonably free of additional Hi Lyman series line absorption, is used. No correction is needed for molecular hydrogen absorption in our Galaxy but a foreground extinction of 0.29 mag is accounted for. An upper limit of erg cm-2 s-1 A-1 is obtained for the flux at ≈900 Å in the rest frame of Mrk 54. By comparison with the number of ionizing photons derived from the Hα flux, this limit translates into an upper limit of for the fraction of Lyman continuum photons that escape the galaxy without being absorbed by interstellar material. This limit compares with the limits obtained in three other nearby galaxies and is compatible with the escape fractions predicted by models. The upper limits obtained in nearby galaxies contrasts with the detection of Lyman continuum flux in the composite spectrum of Lyman-break galaxies at . The difficulties and implications of a comparison are discussed.
Key words: galaxies: individual: Mrk 54 / intergalactic medium / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: starburst / ultraviolet: galaxies
© ESO, 2001
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