Mapping the Dynamics of a Giant Ly-alpha Halo at z=4.1 with MUSE: The Energetics of a Large Scale AGN-Driven Outflow around a Massive, High-Redshift Galaxy

12 Mar 2015  ·  Swinbank Mark Durham, Vernet Joel ESO, Smail Ian Durham, De Breuck Carlos ESO, Bacon Roland Lyon, Contini Thierry Toulouse, Richard Johan Lyon, Rottgering Huub Leiden, Urrutia Tanya Potsdam, Venemans Bram MPIA ·

We present deep MUSE integral-field unit (IFU) spectroscopic observations of the giant (~150 x 80 kpc) Ly-alpha halo around the z=4.1 radio galaxy TNJ J1338-1942. This 9-hr observation maps the two-dimensional kinematics of the Ly-alpha emission across the halo... We identify two HI absorbers which are seen against the Ly-alpha emission, both of which cover the full 150 x 80 kpc extent of the halo and so have covering fractions ~1. The stronger and more blue-shifted absorber (dv~1200 km/s) has dynamics that mirror that of the underlying halo emission and we suggest that this high column material (n(HI) ~ 10^19.4 /cm^2), which is also seen in CIV absorption, represents an out-flowing shell that has been driven by the AGN (or star formation) within the galaxy. The weaker (n(HI)~10^14 /cm^2) and less blue shifted (dv~500 km/s) absorber most likely represents material in the cavity between the out-flowing shell and the Ly-alpha halo. We estimate that the mass in the shell must be of order 10^10 Msol -- a significant fraction of the ISM from a galaxy at z=4. The large scales of these coherent structures illustrate the potentially powerful influence of AGN feedback on the distribution and energetics of material in their surroundings. Indeed, the discovery of high-velocity (~1000 km/s), group-halo-scale (i.e. >150 kpc) and mass-loaded winds in the vicinity of the central radio source are broadly in agreement with the requirements of models that invoke AGN-driven outflows to regulate star formation and black-hole growth in massive galaxies at early times. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics