The Subaru Lyα blob survey: a sample of 100-kpc Lyα blobs at z= 3


Based on data collected at the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.


Carnegie Fellow.


We present results of a survey for giant Lyα blobs (LABs) at z= 3 with Subaru/Suprime-Cam. We obtained Lyα imaging at z= 3.09 ± 0.03 around the SSA22 protocluster and in several blank fields. The total survey area is 2.1 deg2, corresponding to a comoving volume of 1.6 × 106 Mpc3. Using a uniform detection threshold of 1.4 × 10−18 erg s−1 cm−2 arcsec−2 for the Lyα images, we construct a sample of 14 LAB candidates with major-axis diameters larger than 100 kpc, including five previously known blobs and two known quasars. This survey triples the number of known LABs over 100 kpc. The giant LAB sample shows a possible ‘morphology–density relation’: filamentary LABs reside in average density environments as derived from compact Lyα emitters, while circular LABs reside in both average density and overdense environments. Although it is hard to examine the formation mechanisms of LABs only from the Lyα morphologies, more filamentary LABs may relate to cold gas accretion from the surrounding intergalactic medium (IGM) and more circular LABs may relate to large-scale gas outflows, which are driven by intense starbursts and/or by active galactic nucleus activities. Our survey highlights the potential usefulness of giant LABs to investigate the interactions between galaxies and the surrounding IGM from the field to overdense environments at high redshift.