Journal Article

A galaxy as the source of a C <span class="smallCaps">iv</span> absorption system close to the epoch of reionization*

C. Gonzalo Díaz, Emma V. Ryan-Weber, Jeff Cooke, Max Pettini and Piero Madau

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 418, issue 2, pages 820-827
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19534.x
A galaxy as the source of a C iv absorption system close to the epoch of reionization*

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We find a bright (LUV= 2.5 Lz= 6) Lyα emitter (LAE) at redshift z= 5.719 at a projected distance of 79 physical kpc from a strong triply ionized carbon (C iv) absorption system at redshift z= 5.7238 previously reported in the spectrum of the zem= 6.309 quasi-stellar object SDSS J1030+0524. This is the highest redshift galaxy–absorber pair detected to-date, supporting the idea that galaxy-wide outflows were already in place at the end of the epoch of reionization. The proximity of this object makes it the most likely source of metals, consistent with models of outflows at lower redshift where significant observational evidence relates metal absorption systems with galaxies hosting outflows.

In a typical outflow scenario, a wind of 200 km s−1, active since the Universe was only 0.6 Gyr old (z∼ 8.4), could eject metals out to 79 kpc at z= 5.719. Although the origin of metals in the intergalactic medium (IGM) is still under debate, our results are consistent with predictions from cosmological simulations which reproduce the evolution of the cosmic density of C iv from z∼ 6 to the present day based on outflow-driven enrichment of the IGM.

We also report two more LAEs in this field, at z= 5.973 ± 0.002 and 5.676 ± 0.002, respectively the former confirming the original identification by Stiavelli et al. Our results suggest that the colour cut typically used to identify i-dropouts (i775z850 > 1.3) misses a non-negligible fraction of blue galaxies with faint ultraviolet continuum at z≳ 5.7.

Keywords: galaxies: distances and redshifts; galaxies: high-redshift; intergalactic medium; early Universe

Journal Article.  7437 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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