James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 6/10/2024

Harvard ADS: Toward Unveiling Cosmic Reionization: The Ionizing Photon Production Efficiency (ξ ion) of Low-mass Hα Emitters at z ∼ 2.3

Paper abstract: We investigate the galaxy properties of ~400 low-mass (<109 M ?) Ha emitters (HAEs) at z ~ 2.3 in the ZFOURGE survey. The selection of these HAEs is based on the excess in the observed K s broadband flux compared to the stellar continuum estimated from the best-fit spectral energy distribution. These low-mass HAEs have elevated SFR(Ha) above the star formation main sequence, making them potential analogs of the galaxies that reionized the Universe during the Epoch of Reionization. The ionizing photon production efficiencies (? ion) of the low-mass HAEs have a median value of , assuming the Calzetti (SMC) curve for the stellar continuum dust correction. This value is higher than that of main-sequence galaxies by ~0.2 dex at similar redshift, indicating that the low-mass HAEs are more efficient in producing ionizing photons. Our results also consolidate the trend of increasing ? ion with redshift, but reveal a "downsizing" relationship between ? ion and stellar mass (M ?) with increasing redshift. We further explore the dependence of ? ion on other galaxy properties, such as the UV spectral slope (ß UV), the UV magnitude (M UV), and the equivalent widths of Ha and [O III] emission lines. Galaxies with bluer UV slopes, fainter UV luminosities, and higher equivalent widths exhibit elevated ? ion by a factor of ~2 compared to the median ? ion of our sample. JWST data will provide an opportunity to extend our method and further investigate the properties of low-mass galaxies at high redshifts.