The Lyman Continuum Escape Survey. II. Ionizing Radiation as a Function of the [O =iii]/[O =ii] Line Ratio

Kimihiko Nakajima, Richard S. Ellis, Brant E Robertson, Mengtao Tang, Daniel P. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We discuss the rest-frame optical emission line spectra of a large (∼50) sample of z ∼ 3.1 Lyα emitting galaxies (LAEs) whose physical properties suggest such sources are promising analogs of galaxies in the reionization era. Reliable Lyman continuum (LyC) escape fractions have now been determined for a large sample of such LAEs from the LymAn Continuum Escape Survey (LACES) undertaken via deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging in the SSA22 survey area reported in Fletcher et al. Using new measures of [O ii] emission secured from Keck MOSFIRE spectra we re-examine, for a larger sample, earlier claims that LyC leakages may correlate with the nebular emission line ratio [O iii]/[O ii] as expected for density-bound H ii regions. We find that a large [O iii]/[O ii] line ratio is indeed a necessary condition for LyC leakage, strengthening earlier claims made using smaller samples at various redshifts. However, not all LAEs with large [O iii]/[O ii] line ratios are leakers and leaking radiation appears not to be associated with differences in other spectral diagnostics. This suggests the detection of leaking radiation is modulated by an additional property, possibly the viewing angle for porous H ii regions. We discuss our new results in the context of the striking bimodality of LAE leakers and non-leakers found in the LACES program and the implications for the sources of cosmic reionization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number161
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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