Broadband Selection, Spectroscopic Identification, and Physical Properties of a Population of Extreme Emission-line Galaxies at 3 < z < 3.7

Masato Onodera, Rhythm Shimakawa, Tomoko L. Suzuki, Ichi Tanaka, Yuichi Harikane, Masao Hayashi, Tadayuki Kodama, Yusei Koyama, Kimihiko Nakajima, Takatoshi Shibuya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We present the selection, spectroscopic identification, and physical properties of extreme emission-line galaxies (EELGs) at 3 < z < 3.7, aiming at studying physical properties of an analog population of star-forming galaxies (SFGs) at the epoch of reionization. The sample is selected based on the excess in the observed Ks broadband flux relative to the best-fit stellar continuum model flux. By applying a 0.3 mag excess as a primary criterion, we select 240 EELG candidates with intense emission lines and estimated an observed-frame equivalent width (EW) of 1000 over the UltraVISTA-DR2 ultra-deep stripe in the COSMOS field. We then carried out HK-band follow-up spectroscopy for 23 of the candidates with Subaru/MOIRCS, and we find that 19 and 2 of them are at z > 3 with intense [O iii] emission and H emitters at z ≃ 2, respectively. These spectroscopically identified EELGs at z ≃ 3.3 show, on average, higher specific star formation rates (sSFRs) than the star-forming main sequence, low dust attenuation of E(B-V) ≲ 0.1 mag, and high [O iii]/[O ii]ratios of 3. We also find that our EELGs at z ≃ 3.3 have higher hydrogen-ionizing photon production efficiencies (ξ ion) than the canonical value (≃1025.2 erg-1 Hz), indicating that they are efficient in ionizing their surrounding interstellar medium. These physical properties suggest that they are low-metallicity galaxies with higher ionizing parameters and harder UV spectra than normal SFGs, which is similar to galaxies with Lyman continuum (LyC) leakage. Among our EELGs, those with the largest [O iii]/[O ii] and EW([O iii]) values would be the most promising candidates to search for LyC leakage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


  • Emission line galaxies (459)
  • Galaxy evolution (594)
  • Galaxy formation (595)
  • Galaxy properties (615)
  • High-redshift galaxies (734)
  • Reionization (1383)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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