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Galaxy counterparts of metal-rich damped Ly alpha absorbers - II. A solar-metallicity and dusty DLA at z(abs)=2.58
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2011 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 413, no 4, 2481-2488 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This is the second paper of a series reporting on the results from a survey conducted with the ESO VLT/X-shooter spectrograph. We target high-metallicity damped Lyman alpha absorbers (DLAs) with the aim of investigating the relation between galaxies detected in emission and those detected in absorption. Here, we report on the discovery of the galaxy counterpart of the z(abs) = 2.58 DLA on the line-of-sight to the z = 3.07 quasar SDSS J 091826.16+163609.0 (hereafter Q 0918+1636). The galaxy counterpart of the DLA is detected in the [O iii] lambda 5007 and [O ii] lambda lambda 3726, 3729 emission lines redshifted into the NIR at an impact parameter of 2.0 arcsec (16 kpc at z = 2.58). Ly alpha emission is not detected down to a 3 Sigma detection limit of 5 x 10-18 erg s-1 cm-2, which, compared to the strength of the oxygen lines, implies that Ly alpha emission from this galaxy is suppressed by more than an order of magnitude. The DLA has one of the highest metallicities measured so far at comparable redshifts. We find evidence for substantial depletion of refractory elements on to dust grains. Fitting the main metal line component of the DLA, which is located at z(abs) = 2.5832, we measure the metal abundances from Zn ii, S ii, Si ii, Cr ii, Mn ii, Fe ii and Ni ii to be -0.12 +/- 0.05, -0.26 +/- 0.05, -0.46 +/- 0.05, -0.88 +/- 0.05, -0.92 +/- 0.05, -1.03 +/- 0.05 and -0.78 +/- 0.05, respectively. In addition, we detect absorption in the Lyman and Werner bands of molecular hydrogen (H(2)), which represents the first detection of H(2) molecules with X-shooter. The background quasar Q 0918+1636 is amongst the reddest QSOs at redshifts 3.02 < z < 3.12 from the SDSS catalogue. Its UV to NIR spectrum is well fitted by a composite QSO spectrum reddened by SMC-/LMC-like extinction curves at z(abs) = 2.58 with a significant amount of extinction given by A(V) approximate to 0.2 mag. This supports previous claims that there may be more metal-rich DLAs missing from current samples due to dust reddening of the background QSOs. The fact that there is evidence for dust both in the central emitting regions of the galaxy (as evidenced by the lack of Ly alpha emission) and at an impact parameter of 16 kpc (as probed by the DLA) suggests that dust is widespread in this system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 413, no 4, 2481-2488 p.
Keyword [en]
galaxies: formation, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: ISM, quasars: absorption lines, quasars: individual: SDSS J 091826.16+163609.0, cosmology: observations
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-67885DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.18318.xISI: 000290819900014OAI: diva2:471228
authorCount :17Available from: 2012-01-02 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Laursen, Peter
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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