Column density distribution and cosmological mass density of neutral gas: Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III Data Release 9

P. Noterdaeme, P. Petitjean, W. C. Carithers, I. Pĝris, A. Font-Ribera, S. Bailey, E. Aubourg, D. Bizyaev, G. Ebelke, H. Finley, J. Ge, E. Malanushenko, V. Malanushenko, J. Miralda-Escudé, A. D. Myers, D. Oravetz, K. Pan, M. M. Pieri, N. P. Ross, D. P. SchneiderA. Simmons, D. G. York

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Abstract

We present the first results from an ongoing survey for damped Lyman-a systems (DLAs) in the spectra of z > 2 quasars observed in the course of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) III. Our full (non-statistical) sample, based on Data Release 9, comprises 12 081 systems with log N(H i) = 20, out of which 6839 have log N(H i) = 20.3. This is the largest DLA sample ever compiled, superseding that from SDSS-II by a factor of seven. Using a statistical sub-sample and estimating systematics from realistic mock data, we probe the N(H i) distribution at z = 2.5. Contrary to what is generally believed, the distribution extends beyond 10 22 cm -2 with a moderate slope of index ≈-3.5. This result matches the opacity-corrected distribution observed at z = 0 surprisingly well. The cosmological mass density of neutral gas in DLAs is found to be ω DLA g ≈ 10 -3, evolving only mildly over the past 12 billion years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL1
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume547
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 30 2012

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Noterdaeme, P., Petitjean, P., Carithers, W. C., Pĝris, I., Font-Ribera, A., Bailey, S., Aubourg, E., Bizyaev, D., Ebelke, G., Finley, H., Ge, J., Malanushenko, E., Malanushenko, V., Miralda-Escudé, J., Myers, A. D., Oravetz, D., Pan, K., Pieri, M. M., Ross, N. P., ... York, D. G. (2012). Column density distribution and cosmological mass density of neutral gas: Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III Data Release 9. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 547, [L1]. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201220259