Metal-line absorption at zabs∼zem from associated galaxies

E. Ellingson, H. K.C. Yee, Jill Bechtold, Adam Dobrzycki

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12 Scopus citations


For a preliminary study of whether C IV absorption at zabs∼zem is related to associated galaxy companions, we have collected data from a sample of 10 quasars with 0.15<z<0.65 for which high-resolution optical and UV spectroscopy is available from the literature, and for which we have deep optical images and limited spectroscopy. We also present new optical spectra for two of our samples. Four of these quasars have associated C IV absorption systems. In these four fields, there are eight galaxies with Mr<-19.0 mag within 35 kpc of the quasar (projected distance, assuming they are at the quasar redshift), which may be candidates for the associated C IV absorption. This observed density of galaxies near quasars with associated C IV absorption is significantly greater than that for a control sample of quasars chosen from the literature. This result suggests that galaxies near the quasar line of sight may be linked with associated C IV absorption. None of these quasars show associated Mg II absorption, despite the presence of galaxies very near the line of sight, suggesting a Mg II "proximity effect," where ionizing flux from the quasar destroys the Mg+ from at least the outer parts of the galaxies. Three quasars are located in rich galaxy clusters, but none of these quasars are found to have associated C IV absorption. This suggests that galaxies in rich clusters associated with quasars are less likely to be metal-line absorbers. It is plausible that the extended galaxy halos which may be responsible for the absorptions are stripped from galaxies in these dense environments. While it seems that at z∼0.6 rich clusters do not cause them, associated C IV absorption systems at higher redshift may be explained by associated clusters if there has been evolution in the properties of galaxy halos in dense environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1219-1226
Number of pages8
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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