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Mapping the Morphology and Kinematics of a Lyman-alpha Nebula at z=3.15 with MUSE

Our MUSE observations of LABn06, a Ly-alpha nebula at z~3.2, indicate that it is powered by an active galactic nucleus

Published onApr 22, 2023
Mapping the Morphology and Kinematics of a Lyman-alpha Nebula at z=3.15 with MUSE

This video explains why the Lyman-alpha nebula LABn06 is likely to be powered by an active galactic nucleus near its center.

The high-z Lyman alpha blob LABn06 [1] has often been cited as an example of gravitational cooling powering the observed emission in a Lyα\alpha-emitting nebula (LAN), due to the lack of powerful ionizing sources near the system. A subsequent study of the environment of LABn06 revealed the presence of an obscured active galactic nucleus (AGN) detected near the Lyα\alpha brightness peak using mid-infrared observations [2].

Here we present spatially and spectroscopically resolved VLT/MUSE observations of the LABn06 system, highlighting key results from Sanderson et al. (2021) [3]. Our observations reveal a two-lobed nebula that is morphologically and kinematically centered on the obscured AGN, with a central surface brightness depression at the location of the AGN. Our results support a scenario in which the AGN is responsible for powering an extended emission-line nebula oriented roughly in the plane of the sky, with an additional contribution from Lyα\alpha resonance scattering. Further observations will explore whether the central surface brightness depression represents either an unusual gas or dust distribution or temporal variations in the ionizing output of the AGN.

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