Understanding the mechanisms responsible for reionization in the early universe is one of the most important questions in modern extragalactic research. The commonly accepted theory is that star-forming galaxies are the main contributors to this ionizing radiation. However, the exact nature of these galaxies - high mass vs. low mass - is still being debated. Recently, a class of compact starbursting galaxies known as Green Peas have been shown to exhibit high Lyman-alpha and Lyman continuum (LyC) escape fractions. With the existence of a low-redshift population of LyC emitting galaxies confirmed, the research in this field must transition to carrying out comprehensive studies of the nature of LyC emitting galaxies. We propose to use COS to observe 5 compact star-forming galaxies selected from a complete, flux-limited sample that probes to higher galaxy masses than previous studies. This study will significantly expand the number of known LyC emitters and extend their study to include a more diverse range of galaxy properties. We will measure the Lyman-alpha line profiles and attempt to detect LyC emission from these sources. These observations will contribute to our understanding of the escape mechanisms of ionizing radiation in galaxies, as well as provide insight into the types of sources responsible for cosmic reionization.
- Pub Date:
- June 2019