Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers

Matthew Pieri, Michael J. Mortonson, Stephan Frank, Neil Crighton, David H. Weinberg, Khee Gan Lee, Pasquier Noterdaeme, Stephen Bailey, Nicolas Busca, Jian Ge, David Kirkby, Britt Lundgren, Smita Mathur, Isabelle Pâris, Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille, Patrick Petitjean, James Rich, Nicholas P. Ross, Donald P. Schneider, Donald G. York

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Abstract

present composite spectra constructed from a sample of 242 150 Lyman a (Lyα) forest absorbers at redshifts 2.4 < z < 3.1 identified in quasar spectra from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as part of Data Release 9 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. We select forest absorbers by their flux in bins 138 km s-1 wide (approximately the size of the BOSS resolution element). We split these absorbers into five samples spanning the range of flux -0.05 ≤ F < 0.45. Tests on a smaller set of high-resolution spectra show that our three strongest absorption samples would probe circumgalactic regions (projected separation <300 proper kpc and |δ v| < 300 km s-1) in about 60 per cent of cases for very high signal-to-noise ratio. Within this subset, weakening Lyα absorption is associated with decreasing purity of circumgalactic selection once BOSS noise is included. Our weaker two Lyα absorption samples are dominated by the intergalactic medium. We present composite spectra of these samples and a catalogue of measured absorption features from H I and 13 metal ionization species, all of which we make available to the community. We compare measurements of seven Lyman series transitions in our composite spectra to single line models and obtain further constraints from their associated excess Lyman limit opacity. This analysis provides results consistent with column densities over the range 14.4 ≤ log(NHI) ≤ 16.45. We compare our measurements of metal absorption to a variety of simple single-line, singlephase models for a preliminary interpretation. Our results imply clumping on scales down to ̃30 pc and near-solar metallicities in the circumgalactic samples, while high-ionization metal absorption consistent with typical IGM densities and metallicities is visible in all samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberstu577
Pages (from-to)1718-1740
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume441
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

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absorbers
composite materials
oscillation
baryons
metal
ionization
oscillations
metallicity
metals
intergalactic media
signal-to-noise ratio
opacity
quasars
set theory
catalogs
probe
purity
signal to noise ratios
probes
high resolution

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Pieri, M., Mortonson, M. J., Frank, S., Crighton, N., Weinberg, D. H., Lee, K. G., ... York, D. G. (2014). Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 441(2), 1718-1740. [stu577]. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu577
Pieri, Matthew ; Mortonson, Michael J. ; Frank, Stephan ; Crighton, Neil ; Weinberg, David H. ; Lee, Khee Gan ; Noterdaeme, Pasquier ; Bailey, Stephen ; Busca, Nicolas ; Ge, Jian ; Kirkby, David ; Lundgren, Britt ; Mathur, Smita ; Pâris, Isabelle ; Palanque-Delabrouille, Nathalie ; Petitjean, Patrick ; Rich, James ; Ross, Nicholas P. ; Schneider, Donald P. ; York, Donald G. / Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 2014 ; Vol. 441, No. 2. pp. 1718-1740.
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abstract = "present composite spectra constructed from a sample of 242 150 Lyman a (Lyα) forest absorbers at redshifts 2.4 < z < 3.1 identified in quasar spectra from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as part of Data Release 9 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. We select forest absorbers by their flux in bins 138 km s-1 wide (approximately the size of the BOSS resolution element). We split these absorbers into five samples spanning the range of flux -0.05 ≤ F < 0.45. Tests on a smaller set of high-resolution spectra show that our three strongest absorption samples would probe circumgalactic regions (projected separation <300 proper kpc and |δ v| < 300 km s-1) in about 60 per cent of cases for very high signal-to-noise ratio. Within this subset, weakening Lyα absorption is associated with decreasing purity of circumgalactic selection once BOSS noise is included. Our weaker two Lyα absorption samples are dominated by the intergalactic medium. We present composite spectra of these samples and a catalogue of measured absorption features from H I and 13 metal ionization species, all of which we make available to the community. We compare measurements of seven Lyman series transitions in our composite spectra to single line models and obtain further constraints from their associated excess Lyman limit opacity. This analysis provides results consistent with column densities over the range 14.4 ≤ log(NHI) ≤ 16.45. We compare our measurements of metal absorption to a variety of simple single-line, singlephase models for a preliminary interpretation. Our results imply clumping on scales down to ̃30 pc and near-solar metallicities in the circumgalactic samples, while high-ionization metal absorption consistent with typical IGM densities and metallicities is visible in all samples.",
author = "Matthew Pieri and Mortonson, {Michael J.} and Stephan Frank and Neil Crighton and Weinberg, {David H.} and Lee, {Khee Gan} and Pasquier Noterdaeme and Stephen Bailey and Nicolas Busca and Jian Ge and David Kirkby and Britt Lundgren and Smita Mathur and Isabelle P{\^a}ris and Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille and Patrick Petitjean and James Rich and Ross, {Nicholas P.} and Schneider, {Donald P.} and York, {Donald G.}",
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month = "6",
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language = "English (US)",
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Pieri, M, Mortonson, MJ, Frank, S, Crighton, N, Weinberg, DH, Lee, KG, Noterdaeme, P, Bailey, S, Busca, N, Ge, J, Kirkby, D, Lundgren, B, Mathur, S, Pâris, I, Palanque-Delabrouille, N, Petitjean, P, Rich, J, Ross, NP, Schneider, DP & York, DG 2014, 'Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 441, no. 2, stu577, pp. 1718-1740. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu577

Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers. / Pieri, Matthew; Mortonson, Michael J.; Frank, Stephan; Crighton, Neil; Weinberg, David H.; Lee, Khee Gan; Noterdaeme, Pasquier; Bailey, Stephen; Busca, Nicolas; Ge, Jian; Kirkby, David; Lundgren, Britt; Mathur, Smita; Pâris, Isabelle; Palanque-Delabrouille, Nathalie; Petitjean, Patrick; Rich, James; Ross, Nicholas P.; Schneider, Donald P.; York, Donald G.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 441, No. 2, stu577, 06.2014, p. 1718-1740.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Probing the circumgalactic medium at high-redshift using composite boss spectra of strong Lyman α forest absorbers

AU - Pieri, Matthew

AU - Mortonson, Michael J.

AU - Frank, Stephan

AU - Crighton, Neil

AU - Weinberg, David H.

AU - Lee, Khee Gan

AU - Noterdaeme, Pasquier

AU - Bailey, Stephen

AU - Busca, Nicolas

AU - Ge, Jian

AU - Kirkby, David

AU - Lundgren, Britt

AU - Mathur, Smita

AU - Pâris, Isabelle

AU - Palanque-Delabrouille, Nathalie

AU - Petitjean, Patrick

AU - Rich, James

AU - Ross, Nicholas P.

AU - Schneider, Donald P.

AU - York, Donald G.

PY - 2014/6

Y1 - 2014/6

N2 - present composite spectra constructed from a sample of 242 150 Lyman a (Lyα) forest absorbers at redshifts 2.4 < z < 3.1 identified in quasar spectra from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as part of Data Release 9 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. We select forest absorbers by their flux in bins 138 km s-1 wide (approximately the size of the BOSS resolution element). We split these absorbers into five samples spanning the range of flux -0.05 ≤ F < 0.45. Tests on a smaller set of high-resolution spectra show that our three strongest absorption samples would probe circumgalactic regions (projected separation <300 proper kpc and |δ v| < 300 km s-1) in about 60 per cent of cases for very high signal-to-noise ratio. Within this subset, weakening Lyα absorption is associated with decreasing purity of circumgalactic selection once BOSS noise is included. Our weaker two Lyα absorption samples are dominated by the intergalactic medium. We present composite spectra of these samples and a catalogue of measured absorption features from H I and 13 metal ionization species, all of which we make available to the community. We compare measurements of seven Lyman series transitions in our composite spectra to single line models and obtain further constraints from their associated excess Lyman limit opacity. This analysis provides results consistent with column densities over the range 14.4 ≤ log(NHI) ≤ 16.45. We compare our measurements of metal absorption to a variety of simple single-line, singlephase models for a preliminary interpretation. Our results imply clumping on scales down to ̃30 pc and near-solar metallicities in the circumgalactic samples, while high-ionization metal absorption consistent with typical IGM densities and metallicities is visible in all samples.

AB - present composite spectra constructed from a sample of 242 150 Lyman a (Lyα) forest absorbers at redshifts 2.4 < z < 3.1 identified in quasar spectra from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as part of Data Release 9 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. We select forest absorbers by their flux in bins 138 km s-1 wide (approximately the size of the BOSS resolution element). We split these absorbers into five samples spanning the range of flux -0.05 ≤ F < 0.45. Tests on a smaller set of high-resolution spectra show that our three strongest absorption samples would probe circumgalactic regions (projected separation <300 proper kpc and |δ v| < 300 km s-1) in about 60 per cent of cases for very high signal-to-noise ratio. Within this subset, weakening Lyα absorption is associated with decreasing purity of circumgalactic selection once BOSS noise is included. Our weaker two Lyα absorption samples are dominated by the intergalactic medium. We present composite spectra of these samples and a catalogue of measured absorption features from H I and 13 metal ionization species, all of which we make available to the community. We compare measurements of seven Lyman series transitions in our composite spectra to single line models and obtain further constraints from their associated excess Lyman limit opacity. This analysis provides results consistent with column densities over the range 14.4 ≤ log(NHI) ≤ 16.45. We compare our measurements of metal absorption to a variety of simple single-line, singlephase models for a preliminary interpretation. Our results imply clumping on scales down to ̃30 pc and near-solar metallicities in the circumgalactic samples, while high-ionization metal absorption consistent with typical IGM densities and metallicities is visible in all samples.

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