The Space Density, Environments, and Physical Properties of Large Ly α Nebulae

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194371
Title:
The Space Density, Environments, and Physical Properties of Large Ly α Nebulae
Author:
Prescott, Moire Kathleen Murphy
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Powerful forces are at work in giant Ly α nebulae, a rare and mysterious population in the high redshift universe. Much like the spatially extended emission line halos around high redshift radio galaxies . but without the strong radio emission . Ly α nebulae (or Ly α 'blobs') boast copious Ly α emission (10⁴⁴ erg s⁻¹), large sizes (∼100 kpc), complex gas morphologies, and the company of numerous compact, star-forming galaxies, and may offer a window into dramatic episodes of massive galaxy formation. The small sample sizes and complex inner workings of Ly α nebulae have limited progress on understanding the their space density, environments, and physical conditions. This thesis strives to answer fundamental questions about Ly α nebulae and pave the way for understanding their role in the build up of massive galaxy systems. To address the frequency of collapse of these massive structures, we carried out the largest systematic Ly α nebula survey to date and measured the Ly α nebula space density. As an unbiased test of the environment of Ly α nebulae, we studied the surroundings of a Ly α nebula and confirmed that Ly α nebulae reside preferentially in overdense regions. To disentangle the sources of ionization, we took a census of all the compact ionization sources within a large Ly α nebula using high resolution imaging. Finally, we used photoionization modeling to put constraints on the physical conditions, the metallicity, and the sources of ionization within Ly α nebulae. Future work will be able to build on this thesis by expanding the systematic search for Ly α nebulae to other existing deep broad-band datasets, mapping the three-dimensional overdense structures in which Ly α nebulae live out to ≥ 50 (comoving) Mpc scales, and disentangling multiple sources of ionization within a larger sample of individual systems using deep optical and near-infrared spectroscopy and detailed photoionization modeling.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Galaxy Formation; High Redshift Galaxies
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Astronomy; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dave, Romeel; Dey, Arjun
Committee Chair:
Dave, Romeel; Dey, Arjun

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleThe Space Density, Environments, and Physical Properties of Large Ly α Nebulaeen_US
dc.creatorPrescott, Moire Kathleen Murphyen_US
dc.contributor.authorPrescott, Moire Kathleen Murphyen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractPowerful forces are at work in giant Ly α nebulae, a rare and mysterious population in the high redshift universe. Much like the spatially extended emission line halos around high redshift radio galaxies . but without the strong radio emission . Ly α nebulae (or Ly α 'blobs') boast copious Ly α emission (10⁴⁴ erg s⁻¹), large sizes (∼100 kpc), complex gas morphologies, and the company of numerous compact, star-forming galaxies, and may offer a window into dramatic episodes of massive galaxy formation. The small sample sizes and complex inner workings of Ly α nebulae have limited progress on understanding the their space density, environments, and physical conditions. This thesis strives to answer fundamental questions about Ly α nebulae and pave the way for understanding their role in the build up of massive galaxy systems. To address the frequency of collapse of these massive structures, we carried out the largest systematic Ly α nebula survey to date and measured the Ly α nebula space density. As an unbiased test of the environment of Ly α nebulae, we studied the surroundings of a Ly α nebula and confirmed that Ly α nebulae reside preferentially in overdense regions. To disentangle the sources of ionization, we took a census of all the compact ionization sources within a large Ly α nebula using high resolution imaging. Finally, we used photoionization modeling to put constraints on the physical conditions, the metallicity, and the sources of ionization within Ly α nebulae. Future work will be able to build on this thesis by expanding the systematic search for Ly α nebulae to other existing deep broad-band datasets, mapping the three-dimensional overdense structures in which Ly α nebulae live out to ≥ 50 (comoving) Mpc scales, and disentangling multiple sources of ionization within a larger sample of individual systems using deep optical and near-infrared spectroscopy and detailed photoionization modeling.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectGalaxy Formationen_US
dc.subjectHigh Redshift Galaxiesen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAstronomyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDave, Romeelen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDey, Arjunen_US
dc.contributor.chairDave, Romeelen_US
dc.contributor.chairDey, Arjunen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGreen, Richarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberThompson, Rodgeren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberImpey, Chrisen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10656en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659753393en_US
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