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Inside the bubble: exploring the environments of reionisation-era Lyman- α emitting galaxies with JADES and FRESCO*

Witstok, J, Smit, R, Saxena, A, Jones, GC, Helton, JM, Sun, F, Maiolino, R, Kumari, N, Stark, DP, Bunker, AJ, Arribas, S, Baker, WM, Bhatawdekar, R, Boyett, K, Cameron, AJ, Carniani, S, Charlot, S, Chevallard, J, Curti, M, Curtis-Lake, E , Eisenstein, DJ, Endsley, R, Hainline, K, Ji, Z, Johnson, BD, Looser, TJ, Nelson, E, Perna, M, Rix, HW, Robertson, BE, Sandles, L, Scholtz, J, Simmonds, C, Tacchella, S, Übler, H, Williams, CC, Willmer, CNA and Willott, C (2024) Inside the bubble: exploring the environments of reionisation-era Lyman- α emitting galaxies with JADES and FRESCO*. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 682. ISSN 0004-6361

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We present a study of the environments of 17 Lyman-α emitting galaxies (LAEs) in the reionisation-era (5.8 < z < 8) identified by JWST/NIRSpec as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES). Unless situated in sufficiently (re)ionised regions, Lyman-α emission from these galaxies would be strongly absorbed by neutral gas in the intergalactic medium (IGM). We conservatively estimate sizes of the ionised regions required to reconcile the relatively low Lyman-α velocity offsets (Γ vLyα < 300kms-1) with moderately high Lyman-α escape fractions (fesc,Lyα > 5%) observed in our sample of LAEs, suggesting the presence of ionised hydrogen along the line of sight towards at least eight out of 17 LAEs. We find minimum physical 'bubble'sizes of the order of Rion ∼ 0.1- 1pMpc are required in a patchy reionisation scenario where ionised bubbles containing the LAEs are embedded in a fully neutral IGM. Around half of the LAEs in our sample are found to coincide with large-scale galaxy overdensities seen in FRESCO at z ∼ 5.8- 5.9 and z ∼ 7.3, suggesting Lyman-α transmission is strongly enhanced in such overdense regions, and underlining the importance of LAEs as tracers of the first large-scale ionised bubbles. Considering only spectroscopically confirmed galaxies, we find our sample of UV-faint LAEs (MUV ≳ -20mag) and their direct neighbours are generally not able to produce the required ionised regions based on the Lyman-α transmission properties, suggesting lower-luminosity sources likely play an important role in carving out these bubbles. These observations demonstrate the combined power of JWST multi-object and slitless spectroscopy in acquiring a unique view of the early Universe during cosmic reionisation via the most distant LAEs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences; Astronomy & Astrophysics
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: EDP Sciences
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 14:41
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 14:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1051/0004-6361/202347176
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23284
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