M. Maseda, J. Brinchmann, M. Franx, R. Bacon, R. Bouwens, K. B. Schmidt, L. A. Boogaard, T. Contini, A. Feltre, H. Inami, W. Kollatschny, R. A. Marino, J. Richard, A. Verhamme, L. Wisotzki
The C III] λλ1907, 1909 emission doublet has been proposed as an alternative to Lyman-α in redshift confirmations of galaxies at z ≳ 6 since it is not attenuated by the largely neutral intergalactic medium at these redshifts and is believed to be strong in the young, vigorously star-forming galaxies present at these early cosmic times. We present a statistical sample of 17 C III]-emitting galaxies beyond z ~ 1.5 using ~30 h deep VLT/MUSE integral field spectroscopy covering 2 square arcminutes in the Hubble Deep Field South (HDFS) and Ultra Deep Field (UDF), achieving C III] sensitivities of ~ 2 × 10-17 erg s-1 cm-2 in the HDFS and ~ 7 × 10-18 erg s-1 cm-2 in the UDF. The rest-frame equivalent widths range from 2 to 19 Å. These 17 galaxies represent ~3% of the total sample of galaxies found between 1.5 ≲ z ≲ 4. They also show elevated star formation rates, lower dust attenuation, and younger mass-weighted ages than the general population of galaxies at the same redshifts. Combined with deep slitless grism spectroscopy from the HST/WFC3 in the UDF, we can tie the rest-frame ultraviolet C III] emission to rest-frame optical emission lines, namely [O III] λ5007, finding a strong correlation between the two. Down to the flux limits that we observe (~ 1 × 10-18 erg s-1 cm-2 with the grism data in the UDF), all objects with a rest-frame [O III] λλ4959, 5007 equivalent width in excess of 250 Å, the so-called extreme emission line galaxies, have detections of C III] in our MUSE data. More detailed studies of the C III]-emitting population at these intermediate redshifts will be crucial to understand the physical conditions in galaxies at early cosmic times and to determine the utility of C III] as a redshift tracer.
galaxies: high-redshift; intergalactic medium; galaxies: evolution; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 608, Article Number A4