The UV, Lyman α, and dark matter halo properties of high-redshift galaxies

Garel, T. ; Blaizot, J. ; Guiderdoni, B. ; Michel-Dansac, L. ; Hayes, M. ; Verhamme, A.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, vol. 450, no. 2, p. 1279-1294

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    We explore the properties of high-redshift Lyman alpha emitters (LAEs), and their link with the Lyman-break galaxy (LBG) population, using a semi-analytic model of galaxy formation that takes into account resonant scattering of Lyα photons in gas outflows. We can reasonably reproduce the abundances of LAEs and LBGs from z≈3 to 7, as well as most UV luminosity functions (LFs) of LAEs. The stronger dust attenuation for (resonant) Lyα photons compared to UV continuum photons in bright LBGs provides a natural interpretation to the increase of the LAE fraction in LBG samples, XLAE, towards fainter magnitudes. The redshift evolution of XLAE seems however very sensitive to UV magnitudes limits and equivalent width (EW) cuts. In spite of the apparent good match between the statistical properties predicted by the model and the observations, we find that the tail of the Lyα EW distribution (EW≳100 Å) cannot be explained by our model, and we need to invoke additional mechanisms. We find that LAEs and LBGs span a very similar dynamical range, but bright LAEs are ∼4times rarer than LBGs in massive haloes. Moreover, massive haloes mainly contain weak LAEs in our model, which might introduce a bias towards low-mass haloes in surveys which select sources with high-EW cuts. Overall, our results are consistent with the idea that LAEs and LBGs make a very similar galaxy population. Their apparent differences seem mainly due to EW selections, UV detection limits, and a decreasing Lyα to UV escape fraction ratio in high star formation rate galaxies