The VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey: evidence for AGN feedback in galaxies with CIII]-$\lambda$1908\AA ~emission 10.8 to 12.5 Gyr ago

29 Oct 2017  ·  Fèvre O. Le, Lemaux B. C., Nakajima K., Schaerer D., Talia M., Zamorani G., Cassata P., Garilli B., Maccagni D., Pentericci L., Tasca L. A. M., Zucca E., Amorin R., Bardelli S., Cimatti A., Giavalisco M., Guaita L., Hathi N. P., Marchi F., Vanzella E., Vergani D., Dunlop J. ·

We analyze the CIII]-1908\AA emission properties in a sample of 3899 star-forming galaxies (SFGs) at 2<z<3.8 from the VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey (VUDS). We find a median EW(CIII])=2.0$\pm$0.2 to 2.2$\pm$0.2\AA ~for the SFG population at 2<z<3 and 3<z<4, resp... About 24% of SFGs are showing EW(CIII])>3\AA, including 20% with 3<EW(CIII])<10\AA ~and 4% with strong emission EW(CIII])>10\AA. A significant fraction of 1.2% of SFGs presents strong CIII] emission 20<EW(CIII])<40\AA. This makes CIII] the second most-frequent emission line in the UV-rest spectra of SFGs after Lyman-$\alpha$. We find a large dispersion in the weak EW(CIII]) - EW(Ly\alpha) correlation, with galaxies showing strong CIII] and no Ly$\alpha$, and vice-versa. SFGs with 10<EW(CIII])<0\AA ~present strong emission lines including CIV-1549, HeII-1640, OIII-1664, but also weaker emission of highly ionized elements SiIV-1403, NIV-1485, NIII-1750, or SiIII-1888, indicating a hard radiation field. We present a broad range of observational evidence supporting the presence of AGN in the strong CIII] emitting population. As EW(CIII]) is rising, we identify powerful outflows with velocities up to 1014 km/s. The strongest CIII] emitters are preferentially located below the SFGs main sequence, with the SFR reduced by x2. In addition, the median stellar age of the strongest emitters is ~0.8 Gyr, three times that of galaxies with EW(CIII])<10\AA. Spectral line analysis presented in a joint paper by Nakajima et al. (2017) confirms that the strongest emitters require an AGN. We conclude that these properties are indicative of AGN feedback in SFGs at 2<z<3.8, contributing to star-formation quenching. We find that quenching timescales of 0.25-0.5x10^9 years are necessary for such AGN feedback to turn part of the star-forming galaxy population with Mstar>10^10 MSun at z~3 into the population of quiescent galaxies observed at redshift z~1-2. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies