Wednesday 18th July 2012

3D-HST Grism Spectroscopy of a Gravitationally Lensed, Low-metallicity Starburst Galaxy at z=1.847


Gabriel B. Brammer, Ruben Sanchez-Janssen, Ivo Labbe, Elisabete da Cunha, Dawn K. Erb, Marijn Franx, Mattia Fumagalli, Britt Lundgren, Danilo Marchesini, Ivelina Momcheva, Erica Nelson, Shannon Patel, Ryan Quadri, Hans-Walter Rix, Rosalind E. Skelton, Kasper B. Schmidt, Arjen van der Wel, Pieter G. van Dokkum, David A. Wake, Katherine E. Whitaker


We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging and spectroscopy of the gravitational lens SL2SJ02176-0513, a cusp arc at z=1.847. The UV continuum of the lensed galaxy is very blue, which is seemingly at odds with its redder optical colors. The 3D-HST WFC3/G141 near-infrared spectrum of the lens reveals the source of this discrepancy to be extremely strong [OIII]5007 and H-beta emission lines with rest-frame equivalent widths of 2000 +/- 100 and 520 +/- 40 Angstroms, respectively. The source has a stellar mass ~10^8 Msun, sSFR\sim100/Gyr, and detection of [OIII]4363 yields a metallicity of 12 + log(O/H) = 7.5 +/- 0.2. We identify local blue compact dwarf analogs to SL2SJ02176-0513, which are among the most metal-poor galaxies in the SDSS. The local analogs resemble the lensed galaxy in many ways, including UV/optical SED, spatial morphology and emission line equivalent widths and ratios. Common to SL2SJ02176-0513 and its local counterparts is an upturn at mid-IR wavelengths likely arising from hot dust heated by starbursts. The emission lines of SL2SJ02176-0513 are spatially resolved owing to the combination of the lens and the high spatial resolution of HST. The lensed galaxy is composed of two clumps with combined size r_e\sim300 pc, and we resolve significant differences in UV color and emission line equivalent width between them. Though it has characteristics occasionally attributed to active galactic nuclei, we conclude that SL2SJ02176-0513 is a low-metallicity star-bursting dwarf galaxy. Such galaxies will be found in significant numbers in the full 3D-HST grism survey.

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