Keck/Palomar Cosmic Web Imagers Reveal an Enormous Lyα Nebula in an Extremely Overdense Quasi-stellar Object Pair Field at z = 2.45

Zheng Cai, Erika Hamden, Matt Matuszewski, J. Xavier Prochaska, Qiong Li, Sebastiano Cantalupo, Fabrizio Arrigoni Battaia, Christopher Martin, James D. Neill, Donal O'Sullivan, Ran Wang, Anna Moore, Patrick Morrissey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Enormous Lyα nebulae (ELANe) represent the extrema of Lyα nebulosities. They have detected extents of >200 kpc in Lyα and Lyα luminosities >1044 erg s-1. The ELAN population is an ideal laboratory to study the interactions between galaxies and the intergalactic/circumgalactic medium (IGM/CGM) given their brightness and sizes. The current sample size of ELANe is still very small, and the few z ≈ 2 ELANe discovered to date are all associated with local overdensities of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Inspired by these results, we have initiated a survey of ELANe associated with quasi-stellar object (QSO) pairs using the Palomar and Keck Cosmic Web Imagers (PCWI/KCWI). In this Letter, we present our first result: the discovery of ELAN0101+0201 associated with a QSO pair at z = 2.45. Our PCWI discovery data shows that, above a 2σ surface brightness of 1.2 × 10-17 erg s-1 cm-2 arcsec-2, the end-to-end size of ELAN0101+0201 is ≳232 kpc. We have conducted follow-up observations using KCWI, resolving multiple Lyα emitting sources within the rectangular field of view of ≈130 × 165 projected kpc2, and obtaining their emission line profiles at high signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns). Combining both KCWI and PCWI, our observations confirm that ELAN0101+0201 resides in an extremely overdense environment. Our observations further support that a large amount of cool (T ∼ 104 K) gas could exist in massive halos (M ≳1013 M o) at z ≈ 2. Future observations on a larger sample of similar systems will provide statistics of how cool gas is distributed in massive overdensities at high redshift and strongly constrain the evolution of the intracluster medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL3
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • galaxies: halos
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • intergalactic medium
  • quasars: emission lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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