The formation of the first galaxies is accompanied by large accretion flows and virialization shocks, during which the gas is shock heated to temperatures of similar to 10(4) K, leading to potentially strong fluxes in the Lyman alpha line. Indeed, a number of Lyman alpha blobs have been detected at high redshift. In this Letter, we explore the origin of such Lyman alpha emission using cosmological hydrodynamical simulations that include a detailed model of atomic hydrogen as a multi-level atom and the effects of line trapping with the adaptive mesh refinement code FLASH. We see that baryons fall into the centre of a halo through cold streams of gas, giving rise to a Lyman alpha luminosity of at least 10(44) erg s(-1) at z = 4.7, similar to the observed Lyman alpha blobs. We find that a Lyman alpha flux of 5.0 x 10(-17) erg cm(-2) s(-1) emerges from the envelope of the halo rather than its centre, where the photons are efficiently trapped. Such emission can be probed in detail with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and will constitute an important probe of gas infall and accretion.
|Tijdschrift||Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||1|
|Status||Published - mei-2011|