Lyman Alpha Emission and Absorption in Local Galaxies

  • Matthew HayesEmail author
Part of the Saas-Fee Advanced Course book series (SAASFEE, volume 46)


Lecture notes concerning observations of the Lyman alpha (Ly\(\alpha \)) transition of atomic hydrogen in low-redshift (z) galaxies. Section 1 discusses the main motivations, astrophysical prerequisites, and definitions. Section 2 describes the various instruments that have contributed to the field or are currently capable of observing Ly\(\alpha \) at \(z<1\), and their basic characteristics. Section 3 is concerned with the first generation of Ly\(\alpha \) observations of quasars and starburst galaxies, using targeted low-resolution spectroscopy. Section 4 is dedicated to systematic surveys, Ly\(\alpha \) luminosity functions and equivalent width distributions, and the global properties of galaxies that may influence Ly\(\alpha \). Section 5 concerns higher resolution spectroscopy of Ly\(\alpha \) and metal absorption lines, and is mostly dedicated to studies of galaxy winds and gas covering. Section 6 is dedicated to high-resolution imaging observations and the existence of large-scale Ly\(\alpha \) halos. Section 7 endeavors to present a unifying scenario for Ly\(\alpha \) emission from galaxies, synthesizes the results, and discusses what we would like to know from the next generation of observations.



Firstly it is my pleasure to thank the organizers of 46th Saas Fee school Lyman-alpha as an astrophysical and cosmological tool for this exciting invitation and their warmest hospitality: Anne Verhamme, Pierre North, Hakim Atek, Sebastiano Cantalupo, and Myriam Burgener Frick. While on the subject, I also need to thank them for their patience in waiting for this manuscript. Without exception, I would like to thank each attendee for their very active participation, interaction in during the sessions, stimulating discussions, and La Pote on Friday\(\rightarrow \)Saturday. Warm thanks also need to be extended to Mark Dijkstra, X. Prochaska, and Masami Ouchi for their outstanding lectures, to which I very much wish I could have devoted more attention. I would like to thank the people whose materials have made it directly into these notes, many of whom are naturally close friends and collaborators: Hakim Atek, Arjan Bik, Joanna Bridge, John Cannon, Stéphane Charlot, Lennox Cowie, Alaina Henry, Anne Jaskot, Daniel Kunth, Miguel Mas-Hesse, David Meier, Sally Oey, Göran Östlin, Ivana Orlitová, Stephen Pardy, Thøger Rivera-Thorsen, Claudia Scarlata, Daniel Schaerer, Anne Verhamme. My apologies go to the probably long list of names missing from this skewed list. I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), and am Fellow of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyAlbaNova University Centre, Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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