Texas Spectroscopic Search for Ly alpha Emission at the End of Reionization I. Constraining the Ly alpha Equivalent-width Distribution at 6.0. < z < 7.0
Additional Document Info
2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. The distribution of Ly emission is a presently accessible method for studying the state of the intergalactic medium (IGM) into the reionization era. We carried out deep spectroscopic observations in order to search for Ly emission from galaxies with photometric redshifts z = 5.5-8.3 selected from the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey. Utilizing data from the Keck/DEIMOS spectrograph, we explore a wavelength coverage of Ly emission at z 5-7 with 4 nights of spectroscopic observations for 118 galaxies, detecting five emission lines with 5 significance: three in the GOODS-N and two in the GOODS-S fields. We constrain the equivalent-width (EW) distribution of Ly emission by comparing the number of detected objects with the expected number constructed from detailed simulations of mock emission lines that account for the observational conditions (e.g., exposure time, wavelength coverage, and sky emission) and galaxy photometric redshift probability distribution functions. The Ly EW distribution is well described by an exponential form, dN/dEW exp(-EW/W 0), characterized by the e-folding scale (W 0) of 60-100 at 0.3 < z < 6. By contrast, our measure of the Ly EW distribution at 6.0 < z < 7.0 rejects a Ly EW distribution with W 0 > 36.4 (125.3 ) at 1 (2) significance. This provides additional evidence that the EW distribution of Ly declines at z > 6, suggesting an increasing fraction of neutral hydrogen in the IGM at that epoch.