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The VLT LBG redshift survey – VI. Mapping H i in the proximity of z ∼ 3 LBGs with X-Shooter.

Bielby, R. M. and Shanks, T. and Crighton, N. H. M. and Bornancini, C. G. and Infante, L. and Lambas, D. G. and Minniti, D. and Morris, S. L. and Tummuangpak, P. (2017) 'The VLT LBG redshift survey – VI. Mapping H i in the proximity of z ∼ 3 LBGs with X-Shooter.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 471 (2). pp. 2174-2186.


We present an analysis of the spatial distribution and dynamics of neutral hydrogen gas around galaxies using new X-Shooter observations of z ∼ 2.5–4 quasars. Adding the X-Shooter data to our existing data set of high-resolution quasar spectroscopy, we use a total sample of 29 quasars alongside ∼1700 Lyman Break Galaxies (LBGs) in the redshift range 2 ≲ z ≲ 3.5. We measure the Lyα forest auto-correlation function, finding a clustering length of s0 = 0.081 ± 0.006 h−1 Mpc, and the cross-correlation function with LBGs, finding a cross-clustering length of s0 = 0.27 ± 0.14 h−1 Mpc and power-law slope γ = 1.1 ± 0.2. Our results highlight the weakly clustered nature of neutral hydrogren systems in the Lyα forest. Building on this, we make a first analysis of the dependence of the clustering on absorber strength, finding a clear preference for stronger Lyα forest absorption features to be more strongly clustered around the galaxy population, suggesting that they trace on average higher mass haloes. Using the projected and 2-D cross-correlation functions, we constrain the dynamics of Lyα forest clouds around z ∼ 3 galaxies. We find a significant detection of large-scale infall of neutral hydrogen, with a constraint on the Lyα forest infall parameter of βF = 1.02 ± 0.22.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2017. The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Date accepted:12 July 2017
Date deposited:05 September 2017
Date of first online publication:14 July 2017
Date first made open access:05 September 2017

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