Resolved Velocity Profiles of Galactic Winds at Cosmic Noon

Keerthi Vasan G. C, Tucker Jones, Ryan L. Sanders, Richard S. Ellis, Daniel P. Stark, Glenn G. Kacprzak, Tania M. Barone, Kim Vy H. Tran, Karl Glazebrook, Colin Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the kinematics of the interstellar medium (ISM) viewed “down the barrel” in 20 gravitationally lensed galaxies during cosmic noon (z = 1.5-3.5). We use moderate-resolution spectra (R ∼ 4000) from Keck’s Echellette Spectrograph and Imager and Magellan/MagE to spectrally resolve the ISM absorption in these galaxies into ∼10 independent elements and use double Gaussian fits to quantify the velocity structure of the gas. We find that the bulk motion of gas in this galaxy sample is outflowing, with average velocity centroid v cent = − 141 km s−1 (±111 km s−1 scatter) measured with respect to the systemic redshift. A total of 16 out of the 20 galaxies exhibit a clear positive skewness, with a blueshifted tail extending to ∼ −500 km s−1. We examine scaling relations in outflow velocities with galaxy stellar mass and star formation rate, finding correlations consistent with a momentum-driven wind scenario. Our measured outflow velocities are also comparable to those reported for FIRE-2 and TNG50 cosmological simulations at similar redshift and galaxy properties. We also consider implications for interpreting results from lower-resolution spectra. We demonstrate that while velocity centroids are accurately recovered, the skewness, velocity width, and probes of high-velocity gas (e.g., v 95) are subject to large scatter and biases at lower resolution. We find that R ≳ 1700 is required for accurate results for the gas kinematics of our sample. This work represents the largest available sample of well-resolved outflow velocity structure at z > 2 and highlights the need for good spectral resolution to recover accurate properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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