HST UV Spectroscopy of the Dwarf Starburst Galaxy Pox 186

Noah S.J. Rogers, Claudia M. Scarlata, Evan D. Skillman, Nathan R. Eggen, Anne E. Jaskot, Vihang Mehta, John M. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studying the galaxies responsible for reionization is often conducted through local reionization-era analogs; however, many of these local analogs are too massive to be representative of the low-mass star-forming galaxies that are thought to play a dominant role in reionization. The local, low-mass dwarf starburst galaxy Pox 186 is one such system with physical conditions representative of a reionization-era starburst galaxy. We present deep ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy of Pox 186 to study its stellar population and ionization conditions and to compare these conditions to other local starburst galaxies. The new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph data are combined with archival observations to cover ∼1150-2000 Å and allow for an assessment of Pox 186's stellar population, the relative enrichment of C and O, and the escape of ionizing photons. We detect significant Lyα and low-ionization state absorption features, indicative of previously undetected neutral gas in Pox 186. The C/O relative abundance, log(C/O) = −0.62 ± 0.02, is consistent with other low-metallicity dwarf galaxies and suggests a comparable star formation history in these systems. We compare UV line ratios in Pox 186 to those of dwarf galaxies and photoionization models, and we find excellent agreement for the ratios utilizing the intense C iii], O iii], and double-peaked C iv lines. However, the UV and optical He ii emission is faint and distinguishes Pox 186 from other local starburst dwarf galaxies. We explore mechanisms that could produce faint He ii, which have implications for the low-mass reionization-era galaxies that may have similar ionization conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

Bibliographical note

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


Dive into the research topics of 'HST UV Spectroscopy of the Dwarf Starburst Galaxy Pox 186'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this