The Decoupled Kinematics of High- z QSO Host Galaxies and Their Ly α Halos

Alyssa B. Drake, Marcel Neeleman, Bram P. Venemans, Mladen Novak, Fabian Walter, Eduardo Bañados, Roberto Decarli, Emanuele Paolo Farina, Chiara Mazzucchelli, Maxime Trebitsch

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We present a comparison of the interstellar medium traced by [C ii] (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), and ionized halo gas traced by Lyα (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer), in and around QSO host galaxies at z ∼ 6. To date, 18 QSOs at this redshift have been studied with both MUSE and high-resolution ALMA imaging; of these, 8 objects display a Lyα halo. Using data cubes matched in velocity resolution, we compare and contrast the spatial and kinematic information of the Lyα halos and the host galaxies’ [C ii] (and dust-continuum) emission. We find that the Lyα halos extend typically 3−30 times beyond the interstellar medium of the host galaxies. The majority of the Lyα halos do not show ordered motion in their velocity fields, whereas most of the [C ii] velocity fields do. In those cases where a velocity gradient can be measured in Lyα, the kinematics do not align with those derived from the [C ii] emission. This implies that the Lyα emission is not tracing the outskirts of a large rotating disk, which is a simple extension of the central galaxy seen in [C ii] emission. It rather suggests that the kinematics of the halo gas are decoupled from those of the central galaxy. Given the scattering nature of Lyα, these results need to be confirmed with James Webb Space Telescope Integral Field Unit observations that can constrain the halo kinematics further using the nonresonant Hα line.
Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages9
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022


  • 310
  • Galaxies and Cosmology


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