PAH Emission Within Lyman Alpha Blobs

Source: arXiv


We present Spitzer observations of Lya Blobs (LAB) at z=2.38-3.09. The mid-infrared ratios (4.5/8um and 8/24um) indicate that ~60% of LAB infrared counterparts are cool, consistent with their infrared output being dominated by star formation and not active galactic nuclei (AGN). The rest have a substantial hot dust component that one would expect from an AGN or an extreme starburst. Comparing the mid-infrared to submillimeter fluxes (~850um or rest frame far infrared) also indicates a large percentage (~2/3) of the LAB counterparts have total bolometric energy output dominated by star formation, although the number of sources with sub-mm detections or meaningful upper limits remains small (~10). We obtained Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectra of 6 infrared-bright sources associated with LABs. Four of these sources have measurable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission features, indicative of significant star formation, while the remaining two show a featureless continuum, indicative of infrared energy output completely dominated by an AGN. Two of the counterparts with PAHs are mixed sources, with PAH line-to-continuum ratios and PAH equivalent widths indicative of large energy contributions from both star formation and AGN. Most of the LAB infrared counterparts have large stellar masses, around 10^11 Mo. There is a weak trend of mass upper limit with the Lya luminosity of the host blob, particularly after the most likely AGN contaminants are removed. The range in likely energy sources for the LABs found in this and previous studies suggests that there is no single source of power that is producing all the known LABs. Comment: 34 pages, 5 figures, accepted by ApJ

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Available from: Paul Francis, Feb 16, 2015