A bright-lensed galaxy at z = 5.4 with strong Ly α emission

September 2018 • 2018MNRAS.479..435M

Authors • McGreer, Ian D. • Clément, Benjamin • Mainali, Ramesh • Stark, Daniel P. • Gronke, Max • Dijkstra, Mark • Fan, Xiaohui • Bian, Fuyan • Frye, Brenda • Jiang, Linhua • Kneib, Jean-Paul • Limousin, Marceau • Walth, Gregory

Abstract • We present a detailed study of an unusually bright, lensed galaxy at z = 5.424 discovered within the CFHTLS imaging survey. With an observed flux of iAB = 23.0, J141446.82+544631.9 is one of the brightest galaxies known at z > 5. It is characterized by strong Ly α emission, reaching a peak in (observed) flux density of >10-16erg s-1 cm-2Å-1. A deep optical spectrum from the Large Binocular Telescope places strong constraints on N V and C IV emission, disfavouring an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) source for the emission. However, a detection of the N IV] λ1486 emission line indicates a hard ionizing continuum, possibly from hot, massive stars. Resolved imaging from HST deblends the galaxy from a foreground interloper; these observations include narrowband imaging of the Ly α emission, which is marginally resolved on approximately few kpc scales and has EW0 ∼ 260 Å. The Ly α emission extends over ∼2000 km s-1 and is broadly consistent with expanding shell models. Spectral energy distribution fitting that includes Spitzer/IRAC photometry suggests a complex star formation history that includes both a recent burst and an evolved population. J1414+5446 lies 30 arcsec from the centre of a known lensing cluster in the CFHTLS; combined with the foreground contribution, this leads to a highly uncertain estimate for the lensing magnification in the range 5 ≲ μ ≲ 25. Because of its unusual brightness, J1414+5446 affords unique opportunities for detailed study of an individual galaxy near the epoch of re-ionization and a preview of what can be expected from upcoming wide-area surveys that will yield hundreds of similar objects.


IPAC Authors


Greg Walth

Assistant Scientist