The CGM at Cosmic Noon with KCWI: Outflows from a Star-forming Galaxy at z = 2.071

Nikole M. Nielsen, Glenn G. Kacprzak, Stephanie K. Pointon, Michael T. Murphy, Christopher W. Churchill, Romeel Davé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We present the first results from our "CGM at Cosmic Noon with KCWI"program to study gas flows in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) at z = 2-3. Combining the power of a high-resolution VLT/UVES quasar spectrum, a Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Surveys image, and integral field spectroscopy with Keck/KCWI (Keck Cosmic Web Imager), we detected Ly emission from a 1.7L ∗ galaxy at z gal = 2.0711 associated with a Lyman limit system with weak Mg ii (W r(2796) = 0.24 ) in quasar field J143040+014939. The galaxy is star-forming (SFRFUV = 37.8 M o yr-1) and clumpy: Either an edge-on disk (i = 85°) or, less likely, a major merger. The background quasar probes the galaxy at an impact parameter of D = 66 kpc along the projected galaxy minor axis (Φ = 89°). From photoionization modeling of the absorption system, we infer a total line-of-sight CGM metallicity of . The absorption system is roughly kinematically symmetric about z gal, with a full Mg ii velocity spread of ∼210 km s-1. Given the galaxy-quasar orientation, CGM metallicity, and gas kinematics, we interpret this gas as an outflow that has likely swept up additional material. By modeling the absorption as a polar outflow cone, we find the gas is decelerating with average radial velocity V out = 109-588 km s-1 for half-opening angles of θ 0 = 14°-75°. Assuming a constant V out, it would take on average t out ∼ 111-597 Myr for the gas to reach 66 kpc. The outflow is energetic, with a mass outflow rate of M o yr-1 and mass loading factor of η < 1.4 ± 1.0. We aim to build a sample of ∼50 Mg ii absorber-galaxy pairs at this epoch to better understand gas flows when they are most actively building galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Circumgalactic medium (1879)
  • Galaxy evolution (594)
  • High-redshift galaxies (734)
  • Lyman-alpha galaxies (978)
  • Quasar absorption line spectroscopy (1317)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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