Discovery of a Primitive Damped Lyman alpha Absorber Near an X-ray Bright Galaxy Group in the Virgo Cluster

Дата и время публикации : 2004-07-21T21:05:57Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
Todd M. Tripp (Univ. Massachusetts)
Edward B. Jenkins (Princeton Obs)
David V. Bowen (Princeton Obs)
Jason X. Prochaska (UCO-Lick)
Bastien Aracil (Univ. Massachusetts)
Rajib Ganguly (STScI)

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Ссылка на журнал-издание: Astrophys.J.619:714-732,2005
Коментарии к статье: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal
Первичная категория: astro-ph

Все категории : astro-ph

Краткий обзор статьи: We present a new UV echelle spectrum of PG1216+069, obtained with HST+STIS, which reveals damped Lya (DLA) absorption as well as O I, C II, Si II, and Fe II absorption lines at z(abs) = 0.00632 near the NGC4261 group. The absorber shows no evidence of highly-ionized gas, which places constraints on "warm-hot" missing baryons in the NGC4261 group. The well-developed damping wings of the Lya line tightly constrain the H I column density; we find log N(H I) = 19.32+/-0.03. The metallicity of this sub-DLA is remarkably low, [O/H] = -1.60^{+0.09}_{-0.11}, which is comparable to many analogous high-redshift systems, and the iron abundance indicates that this absorber contains little or no dust. Nitrogen is underabundant; we detect neither N I or N II, and we show that this is not due to ionization effects but rather indicates that [N/O] < -0.28 (3sigma). Despite the proximity to NGC4261 group, there are no bright galaxies close to the sight line at the absorption redshift. The nearest known galaxy is a sub-L* galaxy with a projected distance rho = 86 kpc; the closest L* galaxy is NGC4260 at rho = 246 kpc. The low metallicity and [N/O] indicate that this low-z sub-DLA is a relatively primitive gas cloud. We consider the nature and origin of the sub-DLA, and we find several possibilities. The properties of the sub-DLA are similar to those of the interstellar media in blue compact dwarf galaxies and are also reminiscent of Milky Way HVCs. Or, the object could simply be a small dark-matter halo, self-enriched by a small amount of internal star formation but mostly undisturbed since its initial formation. In this case, the small halo would likely be an ancient building block of galaxy formation that formed before the epoch of reionization.

Category: Physics