Author(s): , ,
Institution(s): 1. California Institute of Technology, 2. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 3. Valongo Observatory, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Local studies show that galaxy properties are linked to the galaxy number density within their local environment. Galaxy clusters represent the most extreme density environments and are ideal laboratories to investigate the interplay between galaxy evolution and the environment. However, to understand the origin of the galaxy-environment relation, one needs to look back at the epoch of galaxy formation (z > 1), where the local high-density environments of well-established, virialized clusters give way to looser large-scale structures (LSS) extending over regions of several megaparsecs in size (protoclusters). Clustering analysis indicate that at z~2 submm-selected galaxies (SMGs) reside in very massive halos, suggesting that these may trace high-density environments that likely evolve into rich clusters of galaxies. Conversely, recent work has suggests that SMGs are tracers of a broader range of environments, including structures with more modest masses caught in highly active periods. This suggests that since galaxies in these structures are likely caught during episodes of peak starbursts, SMGs may be tracers of a wider range of environments beyond the progenitors of today’s very rich clusters, opening a window for a more complete exploration of the details underpinning the process of galaxy evolution in concert with the assembly of LSS. We undertook a large observing program comprising deep narrow-band Ly-alpha imaging and multi-object spectroscopy using the IMACS camera on Magellan (Las Campanas) to probe for the presence of a galaxy overdensity in the vicinity of a 4-member group of SMGs at z>4. With ~100 spectroscopically-confirmed Ly-alpha emitters, we are in a position to gauge the level of galaxy overdensity in this region. Furthermore, we have initiated a detailed follow-up study of these Ly-alpha emitters to obtain star-formation rates based on the IRAC and MIPS Spitzer archives, in an effort to probe for trends in the intra-LSS distribution.