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Linking gas and galaxies at high redshift: MUSE surveys the environments of six damped Lyα systems at z ≈ 3

Abstract : We present results from a survey of galaxies in the fields of six z ≥ 3 damped Lyman α (Lyα) systems (DLAs) using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We report a high detection rate of up to {≈ } 80{{ per cent}} of galaxies within 1000 km s-1 from DLAs and with impact parameters between 25 and 280 kpc. In particular, we discovered five high-confidence Lyα emitters associated with three DLAs, plus up to nine additional detections across five of the six fields. The majority of the detections are at relatively large impact parameters (>50 kpc) with two detections being plausible host galaxies. Among our detections, we report four galaxies associated with the most metal-poor DLA in our sample (Z/Z = -2.33 ± 0.22), which trace an overdense structure resembling a filament. By comparing our detections with predictions from the Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments (EAGLE) cosmological simulations and a semi-analytic model designed to reproduce the observed bias of DLAs at z > 2, we conclude that our observations are consistent with a scenario in which a significant fraction of DLAs trace the neutral regions within haloes with a characteristic mass of M_h ≈ 10^{11}-10^{12} M_\odot, in agreement with the inference made from the large-scale clustering of DLAs. We finally show how larger surveys targeting ≈25 absorbers have the potential of constraining the characteristic masses of haloes hosting high-redshift DLAs with sufficient accuracy to discriminate between different models.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 1, 2022 - 1:38:31 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, July 2, 2022 - 3:40:14 AM

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Ruari Mackenzie, Michele Fumagalli, Tom Theuns, David J. Hatton, Thibault Garel, et al.. Linking gas and galaxies at high redshift: MUSE surveys the environments of six damped Lyα systems at z ≈ 3. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2019, 487, pp.5070-5096. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stz1501⟩. ⟨insu-03711421⟩

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