J. X. Prochaska

University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, United States

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Publications (566)1914.62 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a sample of 38 intervening Damped Lyman $\alpha$ (DLA) systems identified towards 100 $z>3.5$ quasars, observed during the XQ-100 survey. The XQ-100 DLA sample is combined with major DLA surveys in the literature. The final combined sample consists of 742 DLAs over a redshift range approximately $1.6 < z_{\rm abs} < 5.0$. We develop a novel technique for computing $\Omega_{\rm HI}^{\rm DLA}$ as a continuous function of redshift, and we thoroughly assess and quantify the sources of error therein, including fitting errors and incomplete sampling of the high column density end of the column density distribution function. There is a statistically significant redshift evolution in $\Omega_{\rm HI}^{\rm DLA}$ ($\geq 3 \sigma$) from $z \sim 2$ to $z \sim$ 5. In order to make a complete assessment of the redshift evolution of $\Omega_{\rm HI}$, we combine our high redshift DLA sample with absorption surveys at intermediate redshift and 21cm emission line surveys of the local universe. Although $\Omega_{\rm HI}^{\rm DLA}$, and hence its redshift evolution, remains uncertain in the intermediate redshift regime ($0.1 < z_{\rm abs} < 1.6$), we find that the combination of high redshift data with 21cm surveys of the local universe all yield a statistically significant evolution in $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ from $z \sim 0$ to $z \sim 5$ ($\geq 3 \sigma$). Despite its statistical significance, the magnitude of the evolution is small: a linear regression fit between $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ and $z$ yields a typical slope of $\sim$0.17$\times 10^{-3}$, corresponding to a factor of $\sim$ 4 decrease in $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ between $z=5$ and $z=0$.
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    Michele Fumagalli · John M. O'Meara · J. Xavier Prochaska ·
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    ABSTRACT: We study the physical properties of a homogeneous sample of 157 optically-thick absorption line systems at redshifts ~1.8-4.4, selected from a high-dispersion spectroscopic survey of Lyman limit systems (LLSs). By means of multiple ionisation models and Bayesian techniques, we derive the posterior probability distribution functions for the density, metallicity, temperature, and dust content of the absorbing gas. We find that z>2 LLSs are highly ionised with ionisation parameters between -3<log U<-2, depending on the HI column density. LLSs are characterised by low temperatures (T<5x10^4 K) and reside in dust-poor environments. Between z~2.5-3.5, ~80% of the LLSs have physical densities between n(H)~10^-3.5-10^-2 cm^-3 for the assumed UV background, but we caution that a degeneracy between the ionisation parameter and the intensity of the radiation field prevents robust inference on the density and sizes of LLSs. Conversely, metallicity estimates are less sensitive to the assumptions behind ionisation corrections. LLSs at z>2 are characterised by a broad unimodal distribution over >4 orders of magnitude, with a peak at log Z/Zsun~-2. LLSs are metal poor, significantly less enriched than DLAs, with ~70% of the metallicity PDF below log Z/Zsun<-1.5. The median metallicity of super LLSs with log N(HI)>19 rapidly evolves with redshift, with a ten-fold increase between z~2.1-3.6 (~1.5 Gyr). Based on this sample, we find that LLSs at z=2.5-3.5 account for ~15% of all the metals produced by UV-selected galaxies. The implications for theories of cold gas accretion and metal ejection from galaxies are also discussed.
  • Marie Wingyee Lau · J. Xavier Prochaska · Joseph F. Hennawi ·
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    ABSTRACT: We characterize the physical properties of the cool T ~ 10^4 K circumgalactic medium surrounding z ~ 2-3 quasar host galaxies, which are predicted to evolve into present day massive ellipticals. Using a statistical sample of 14 quasar pairs with projected separation < 300 kpc and high dispersion, high S/N spectra, we find extreme kinematics with low metal ion lines typically spanning 500 km s^-1, exceeding any previously studied galactic population. The CGM is significantly enriched, even beyond the virial radius, with a median metallicity [M/H] = -0.6. The alpha/Fe abundance ratio is enhanced, suggesting that halo gas is primarily enriched by Type II supernovae. The total mass of the cool CGM is estimated to be 1.9*10^11 M_sun (R_\perp/160 kpc)^2, accounting for 1/3 of the galaxy halo baryonic budget. The ionization state of CGM gas increases with projected distance from the foreground quasars, contrary to expectation if the quasar dominates the ionizing radiation flux. However, we also found peculiarities not exhibited in the CGM of other galaxy populations. In one absorption system, we may be detecting unresolved fluorescent Ly-alpha emission, and another system shows strong NV lines. Taken together these anomalies suggest that transverse sightlines are at least in some cases possibly illuminated. We also discovered a peculiar case where detection of the CII fine structure line implies an electron density > 100 cm^-3 and subparsec scale gas clumps.
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the evolution of metal-enriched gas over recent cosmic epochs as well as to characterize the diffuse, ionized, metal-enriched circumgalactic medium (CGM), we have conducted a blind survey for C IV absorption systems in 89 QSO sightlines observed with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). We have identified 42 absorbers at z < 0.16, comprising the largest uniform blind sample size to date in this redshift range. Our measurements indicate an increasing C IV absorber number density per comoving path length (dN/dX = 7.5 +/- 1.1) and modestly increasing mass density relative to the critical density of the Universe (Omega(C IV) = 10.0 +/- 1.5 x 10^-8 ) from z ~ 1.5 to the present epoch, consistent with predictions from cosmological hydrodynamical simulations. Furthermore, the data support a functional form for the column density distribution function that deviates from a single power-law, also consistent with independent theoretical predictions. As the data also probe heavy element ions in addition to C IV at the same redshifts, we identify, measure, and search for correlations between column densities of these species where components appear aligned in velocity. Among these ion-ion correlations, we find evidence for tight correlations between C II and Si II, C II and Si III, and C IV and Si IV, suggesting that these pairs of species arise in similar ionization conditions. However, the evidence for correlations decreases as the difference in ionization potential increases. Finally, when controlling for observational bias, we find only marginal evidence for a correlation (86.8% likelihood) between the Doppler line width b(C IV) and column density N(C IV).
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    ABSTRACT: We present our extensive observational campaign on the Swift-discovered GRB141121A, al- most ten years after its launch. Our observations covers radio through X-rays, and extends for more than 30 days after discovery. The prompt phase of GRB 141121A lasted 1410 s and, at the derived redshift of z = 1.469, the isotropic energy is E{\gamma},iso = 8.0x10^52 erg. Due to the long prompt duration, GRB141121A falls into the recently discovered class of UL-GRBs. Peculiar features of this burst are a flat early-time optical light curve and a radio-to-X-ray rebrightening around 3 days after the burst. The latter is followed by a steep optical-to-X-ray decay and a much shallower radio fading. We analyze GRB 141121A in the context of the standard forward-reverse shock (FS,RS) scenario and we disentangle the FS and RS contributions. Finally, we comment on the puzzling early-time (t ~3 d) behavior of GRB 141121A, and suggest that its interpretation may require a two-component jet model. Overall, our analysis confirms that the class of UL-GRBs represents our best opportunity to firmly establish the prominent emission mechanisms in action during powerful GRB explosions, and future missions (like SVOM, XTiDE, or ISS-Lobster) will provide many more of such objects.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2015; 812(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/812/2/122 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A toy model is developed to understand how the spatial distribution of fluorescent emitters in the vicinity of bright quasars could be affected by the geometry of the quasar bi-conical radiation field and by the quasar lifetime. We then compare the predictions of this model to a sample of high equivalent width Ly a emitters (EW0 > 100 A) that were identified in a deep narrow-band 36x36 arcmin2 image centered on the luminous quasar Q0420-388. These are identified to the edge of the field and show some evidence of an azimuthal asymmetry on the sky of the type expected if the quasar is radiating in a bipolar cone. If these sources are being fluorescently illuminated by the quasar, then the two most distant sources require a lifetime of at least 15 Myr for an opening angle of 60 degrees or more, increasing to more than 40 Myr if the opening angle is reduced to a minimum 30 degrees. The overall distribution of all of the sources across the field gives best fit lifetimes in the range 20 < t < 50 Myr for opening angles in the range 90 < alpha < 40 degrees. If these sources are not being fluorescently illuminated by the quasar, then it suggests that a higher equivalent width limit than has been used in the literature to identify fluorescent objects will be required.
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    ABSTRACT: Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous explosions in the universe, yet the nature and physical properties of their energy sources are far from understood. Very important clues, however, can be inferred by studying the afterglows of these events. We present optical and X-ray observations of GRB 130831A obtained by Swift, Chandra, Skynet, RATIR, Maidanak, ISON, NOT, LT and GTC. This burst shows a steep drop in the X-ray light-curve at $\simeq 10^5$ s after the trigger, with a power-law decay index of $\alpha \sim 6$. Such a rare behaviour cannot be explained by the standard forward shock (FS) model and indicates that the emission, up to the fast decay at $10^5$ s, must be of "internal origin", produced by a dissipation process within an ultrarelativistic outflow. We propose that the source of such an outflow, which must produce the X-ray flux for $\simeq 1$ day in the cosmological rest frame, is a newly born magnetar or black hole. After the drop, the faint X-ray afterglow continues with a much shallower decay. The optical emission, on the other hand, shows no break across the X-ray steep decrease, and the late-time decays of both the X-ray and optical are consistent. Using both the X-ray and optical data, we show that the emission after $\simeq 10^5$ s can be explained well by the FS model. We model our data to derive the kinetic energy of the ejecta and thus measure the efficiency of the central engine of a GRB with emission of internal origin visible for a long time. Furthermore, we break down the energy budget of this GRB into the prompt emission, the late internal dissipation, the kinetic energy of the relativistic ejecta, and compare it with the energy of the associated supernova, SN 2013fu.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2015; 455(1). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv2280 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supernova (SN) Refsdal is the first multiply-imaged, highly-magnified, and spatially-resolved SN ever observed. The SN exploded in a highly-magnified spiral galaxy at z=1.49 behind the Frontier Fields Cluster MACS1149, and provides a unique opportunity to study the environment of SNe at high z. We exploit the time delay between multiple images to determine the properties of the SN and its environment, before, during, and after the SN exploded. We use the integral-field spectrograph MUSE on the VLT to simultaneously target all observed and model-predicted positions of SN Refsdal. We find MgII emission at all positions of SN Refsdal, accompanied by weak FeII* emission at two positions. The measured ratios of [OII] to MgII emission of 10-20 indicate a high degree of ionization with low metallicity. Because the same high degree of ionization is found in all images, it cannot be caused by SN Refsdal, but rather by previous SNe or a young and hot stellar population. We find no variability of the [OII] line over a period of 57 days. This suggests that there is no variation in the [OII] luminosity of the SN over this period, or that the SN contribution to the [OII] emission is too small to distinguish with our observations.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2015; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201527443 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using moderate-resolution optical spectra from 58 background Lyman-break galaxies and quasars at $z\sim 2.3-3$ within a $11.5'\times13.5'$ area of the COSMOS field ($\sim 1200\,\mathrm{deg}^2$ projected area density or $\sim 2.4\,h^{-1}\,\mathrm{Mpc}$ mean transverse separation), we reconstruct a 3D tomographic map of the foreground Ly$\alpha$ forest absorption at $2.2<z<2.5$ with an effective smoothing scale of $\sigma_{3d}\approx3.5\,h^{-1}\,\mathrm{Mpc}$ comoving. Comparing with 61 coeval galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts in the same volume, we find that the galaxy positions are clearly biased towards regions with enhanced IGM absorption in the tomographic map. We find an extended IGM overdensity with deep absorption troughs at $z=2.45$ associated with a recently-discovered galaxy protocluster at the same redshift. Based on simulations matched to our data, we estimate the enclosed dark matter mass within this IGM overdensity to be $M_{\rm dm} (z=2.45) = (9\pm4)\times 10^{13}\,h^{-1}\,\mathrm{M_\odot}$, and argue based on this mass and absorption strength that it will form at least one $z\sim0$ galaxy cluster with $M(z=0) = (3\pm 2) \times 10^{14}\,h^{-1}\mathrm{M_\odot}$, although its elongated nature suggests that it will likely collapse into two separate clusters. We also point out a compact overdensity of six MOSDEF galaxies at $z=2.30$ within a $r\sim 1\,h^{-1}\,\mathrm{Mpc}$ radius and $\Delta z\sim 0.006$, which does not appear to have a large associated IGM overdensity. These results demonstrate the potential of Ly$\alpha$ forest tomography on larger volumes to study galaxy properties as a function of environment, as well as revealing the large-scale IGM overdensities associated with protoclusters and other features of large-scale structure.
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection of a strong Milky Way-type 2175 \AA$ $ extinction bump at $z$ = 2.1166 in the quasar spectrum towards SDSS J121143.42+083349.7 from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 10. We conduct follow up observations with the Echelle Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) onboard the Keck-II telescope and the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) on the VLT. This 2175 \AA$ $ absorber is remarkable in that we simultaneously detect neutral carbon (C I), neutral chlorine (Cl I), and carbon monoxide (CO). It also qualifies as a damped Lyman alpha system. The J1211+0833 absorber is found to be metal-rich and has a dust depletion pattern resembling that of the Milky Way disk clouds. We use the column densities of the C I fine structure states and the C II/C I ratio (under the assumption of ionization equilibrium) to derive the temperature and volume density in the absorbing gas. A Cloudy photoionization model is constructed, which utilizes additional atoms/ions to constrain the physical conditions. The inferred physical conditions are consistent with a canonical cold (T $\sim$ 100 K) neutral medium with a high density ($n$(H I) $\sim$ 100 cm$^{-3}$) and a slightly higher pressure than the local interstellar medium. Given the simultaneous presence of C I, CO, and the 2175 \AA$ $ bump, combined with the high metallicity, high dust depletion level and overall low ionization state of the gas, the absorber towards J1211+0833 supports the scenario that the presence of the bump requires an evolved stellar population.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2015; 454(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv2073 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The specifics of how galaxies form from, and are fuelled by, gas from the intergalactic medium remain uncertain. Hydrodynamic simulations suggest that 'cold accretion flows'-relatively cool (temperatures of the order of 10(4) kelvin), unshocked gas streaming along filaments of the cosmic web into dark-matter halos-are important. These flows are thought to deposit gas and angular momentum into the circumgalactic medium, creating disk- or ring-like structures that eventually coalesce into galaxies that form at filamentary intersections. Recently, a large and luminous filament, consistent with such a cold accretion flow, was discovered near the quasi-stellar object QSO UM287 at redshift 2.279 using narrow-band imaging. Unfortunately, imaging is not sufficient to constrain the physical characteristics of the filament, to determine its kinematics, to explain how it is linked to nearby sources, or to account for its unusual brightness, more than a factor of ten above what is expected for a filament. Here we report a two-dimensional spectroscopic investigation of the emitting structure. We find that the brightest emission region is an extended rotating hydrogen disk with a velocity profile that is characteristic of gas in a dark-matter halo with a mass of 10(13) solar masses. This giant protogalactic disk appears to be connected to a quiescent filament that may extend beyond the virial radius of the halo. The geometry is strongly suggestive of a cold accretion flow.
    Nature 08/2015; 524(7564). DOI:10.1038/nature14616 · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical and near-infrared light curves and optical spectra of SN 2013dx, associated with the nearby (redshift 0.145) gamma-ray burst GRB 130702A. The prompt isotropic gamma-ray energy released from GRB 130702A is measured to be $E_{\gamma,\mathrm{iso}} = 6.4_{-1.0}^{+1.3} \times 10^{50}$erg (1keV to 10MeV in the rest frame), placing it intermediate between low-luminosity GRBs like GRB 980425/SN 1998bw and the broader cosmological population. We compare the observed $g^{\prime}r^{\prime}i^{\prime}z^{\prime}$ light curves of SN 2013dx to a SN 1998bw template, finding that SN 2013dx evolves $\sim20$% faster (steeper rise time), with a comparable peak luminosity. Spectroscopically, SN 2013dx resembles other broad-lined Type Ic supernovae, both associated with (SN 2006aj and SN 1998bw) and lacking (SN 1997ef, SN 2007I, and SN 2010ah) gamma-ray emission, with photospheric velocities around peak of $\sim$21,000 km s$^{-1}$. We construct a quasi-bolometric ($g^{\prime}r^{\prime}i^{\prime}z^{\prime}yJH$) light curve for SN 2013dx, and, together with the photospheric velocity, we derive basic explosion parameters using simple analytic models. We infer a $^{56}$Ni mass of $M_{\mathrm{Ni}} = 0.38\pm 0.01$M$_{\odot}$, an ejecta mass of $M_{\mathrm{ej}} = 3.0 \pm 0.1$ M$_{\odot}$, and a kinetic energy of $E_{\mathrm{K}} = (8.2 \pm 0.40) \times 10^{51}$erg (statistical uncertainties only), consistent with previous GRB-associated SNe. When considering the ensemble population of GRB-associated SNe, we find no correlation between the mass of synthesized $^{56}$Ni and high-energy properties, despite clear predictions from numerical simulations that $M_{\mathrm{Ni}}$ should correlate with the degree of asymmetry. On the other hand, $M_{\mathrm{Ni}}$ clearly correlates with the kinetic energy of the supernova ejecta across a wide range of core-collapse events.
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    ABSTRACT: Using our sample of the most metal-rich damped Lyman $\alpha$ systems (DLAs) at z$\sim2$, and two literature compilations of chemical abundances in 341 DLAs and 2818 stars, we present an analysis of the chemical composition of DLAs in the context of the Local Group. The metal-rich sample of DLAs at z$\sim2$ probes metallicities as high as the Galactic disc and the most metal-rich dwarf spheroidals (dSphs), permitting an analysis of many elements typically observed in DLAs (Fe, Zn, Cr, Mn, Si, and S) in comparison to stellar abundances observed in the Galaxy and its satellites (in particular dSphs). Our main conclusions are: (1) non-solar [Zn/Fe] abundances in metal-poor Galactic stars and in dSphs over the full metallicity range probed by DLAs, suggest that Zn is not a simple proxy for Fe in DLAs and therefore not a suitable indicator of dust depletion. After correcting for dust depletion, the majority of DLAs have subsolar [Zn/Fe] similar to dSphs; (2) at [Fe/H]$\sim-0.5$, a constant [Mn/Fe]$\sim-0.5$ and near-solar [$\alpha$/Fe] (requiring an assumption about dust depletion) are in better agreement with dwarf galaxies than Galactic disc stars; (3) [$\alpha$/Zn] is usually solar or subsolar in DLAs. However, although low ratios of [$\alpha$/Fe] are usually considered more `dwarf-like' than `Milky Way-like', subsolar [Zn/Fe] in Local Group dwarfs leads to supersolar [$\alpha$/Zn] in the dSphs, in contrast with the DLAs. Therefore, whilst DLAs exhibit some similarities with the Local Group dwarf population, there are also notable differences.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2015; 452(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv1577 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    Rebecca A. Bernstein · Scott M. Burles · J. Xavier Prochaska ·
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    ABSTRACT: This manuscript describes the design, usage, and data-reduction pipeline developed for the Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle (MIKE) spectrometer used with the Magellan telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory. We summarize the basic characteristics of the instrument and discuss observational procedures recommended for calibrating the standard data products. We detail the design and implementation of an IDL based data-reduction pipeline for MIKE data (since generalized to other echelle spectrometers, e.g. Keck/HIRES, VLT/UVES). This includes novel techniques for flat-fielding, wavelength calibration, and the extraction of echelle spectroscopy. Sufficient detail is provided in this manuscript to enable inexperienced observers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the instrument and software package and an assessment of the related systematics.
    Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 06/2015; 127(955). DOI:10.1086/683015 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an absorption-line survey of optically thick gas clouds -- Lyman Limit Systems (LLSs) -- observed at high dispersion with spectrometers on the Keck and Magellan telescopes. We measure column densities of neutral hydrogen NHI and associated metal-line transitions for 157 LLSs at z=1.76-4.39 restricted to 10^17.3 < NHI < 10^20.3. An empirical analysis of ionic ratios indicates an increasing ionization state of the gas with decreasing NHI and that the majority of LLSs are highly ionized, confirming previous expectations. The Si^+/H^0 ratio spans nearly four orders-of-magnitude, implying a large dispersion in the gas metallicity. Fewer than 5% of these LLSs have no positive detection of a metal transition; by z~3, nearly all gas that is dense enough to exhibit a very high Lyman limit opacity has previously been polluted by heavy elements. We add new measurements to the small subset of LLS (~5-10) that may have super-solar abundances. High Si^+/Fe^+ ratios suggest an alpha-enhanced medium whereas the Si^+/C^+ ratios do not exhibit the super-solar enhancement inferred previously for the Lya forest.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 06/2015; 221(1). DOI:10.1088/0067-0049/221/1/2 · 11.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Keck science community is entering an era of unprecedented change. Powerful new instrument like ZTF, JWST, LSST, and the ELTs will catalyze this change, and we must be ready to take full advantage to maintain our position of scientific leadership. The best way to do this is to continue the UC and Caltech tradition of technical excellence in instrumentation. In this whitepaper we describe a new instrument called KRAKENS to help meet these challenges. KRAKENS uses a unique detector technology (MKIDs) to enable groundbreaking science across a wide range of astrophysical research topics. This document will lay out the detailed expected science return of KRAKENS.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the largest homogeneous survey of $z>4.4$ damped Lyman-$\alpha$ systems (DLAs) using the spectra of 163 QSOs that comprise the Giant Gemini GMOS (GGG) survey. With this survey we make the most precise high-redshift measurement of the cosmological mass density of neutral hydrogen, $\Omega_{\rm HI}$. At such high redshift important systematic uncertainties in the identification of DLAs are produced by strong intergalactic medium absorption and QSO continuum placement. These can cause spurious DLA detections, result in real DLAs being missed, or bias the inferred DLA column density distribution. We correct for these effects using a combination of mock and higher-resolution spectra, and show that for the GGG DLA sample the uncertainties introduced are smaller than the statistical errors on $\Omega_{\rm HI}$. We find $\Omega_{\rm HI}=0.98^{+0.20}_{-0.18}\times10^{-3}$ at $\langle z\rangle=4.9$, assuming a 20% contribution from lower column density systems below the DLA threshold. By comparing to literature measurements at lower redshifts, we show that $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ can be described by the functional form $\Omega_{\rm HI}(z)\propto(1+z)^{0.4}$. This gradual decrease from $z=5$ to $0$ is consistent with the bulk of HI gas being a transitory phase fuelling star formation, which is continually replenished by more highly-ionized gas from the intergalactic medium, and from recycled galactic winds.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2015; 452(1). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv1182 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: [Abridged] Modern analyses of structure formation predict a universe tangled in a cosmic web of dark matter and diffuse baryons. These theories further predict that by the present day, a significant fraction of the baryons will be shock-heated to $T \sim 10^{5}-10^{7}$K yielding a warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM), but whose actual existence has eluded a firm observational confirmation. We have designed a novel experiment to search for signatures of the WHIM, by targeting the putative filaments connecting galaxy clusters. Here, we detail the experimental design and report on our first study of a remarkable QSO sightline, that passes within $\Delta d < 3$ Mpc from $7$ independent cluster-pair axes at redshifts $0.1<z<0.5$. We observed this unique QSO using HST/COS, and conducted a survey of diffuse gas. We find excesses of total HI, narrow HI (NLA; Doppler parameters $b<50$ km/s), broad HI (BLA; $b>50$ km/s) and OVI absorption lines within $\Delta v < 1000$ km/s from the cluster-pairs redshifts, corresponding to $\sim 2$, $\sim 2$, $\sim 6$ and $\sim 4$ times their field expectations, respectively. We also report on covering fractions, $f_c$, of gas close to cluster-pairs, and find that the $f_c$ of BLAs are $\sim 4-7$ times higher than the random expectation (at the $\sim 2 \sigma$ c.l.), whereas the $f_c$ of NLAs and OVI are not significantly enhanced. We argue that a larger relative excess of BLAs compared to those of NLAs is a clear signature of the WHIM, even when accounting for turbulence. We also conclude that most of the reported excesses of NLAs and BLAs cannot be attributed to individual galaxy halos but rather to truly intergalactic material. These results suggest an ubiquitous presence of the WHIM in inter-cluster filaments. The HST archive will enable to extend the present analysis to tens of sightlines, eventually leading towards the firm detection of the WHIM.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2015; 455(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv2376 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present and make publicly available the first data release (DR1) of the Keck Observatory Database of Ionized Absorption toward Quasars (KODIAQ) survey. The KODIAQ survey is aimed at studying galactic and circumgalactic gas in absorption at high-redshift, with a focus on highly-ionized gas traced by OVI, using the HIRES spectrograph on the Keck-I telescope. KODIAQ DR1 consists of a fully-reduced sample of 170 quasars at 0.29 < z_em < 5.29 observed with HIRES at high resolution (36,000 <= R <= 103,000) between 2004 and 2012. DR1 contains 247 spectra available in continuum normalized form, representing a sum total exposure time of ~1.6 megaseconds. These co-added spectra arise from a total of 567 individual exposures of quasars taken from the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) in raw form and uniformly processed using a HIRES data reduction package made available through the XIDL distribution. DR1 is publicly available to the community, housed as a higher level science product at the KOA. We will provide future data releases that make further QSOs, including those with pre-2004 observations taken with the previous-generation HIRES detectors.
    The Astronomical Journal 05/2015; 150(4). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/111 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TMT Detailed Science Case describes the transformational science that the Thirty Meter Telescope will enable. Planned to begin science operations in 2024, TMT will open up opportunities for revolutionary discoveries in essentially every field of astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, seeing much fainter objects much more clearly than existing telescopes. Per this capability, TMT's science agenda fills all of space and time, from nearby comets and asteroids, to exoplanets, to the most distant galaxies, and all the way back to the very first sources of light in the Universe. More than 150 astronomers from within the TMT partnership and beyond offered input in compiling the new 2015 Detailed Science Case. The contributing astronomers represent the entire TMT partnership, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of California, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) and US associate partner, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

Publication Stats

12k Citations
1,914.62 Total Impact Points


  • 1925-2015
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2014
    • Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2010-2014
    • Saint Michael's College
      Colchester, Vermont, United States
    • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
    • University of Florida
      • Department of Astronomy
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • 2004-2014
    • University of California Observatories
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2013
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • Princeton University
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      CGS, Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
    • University of Leicester
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Leicester, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2006-2008
    • NASA
      Вашингтон, West Virginia, United States
    • Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research
      Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
  • 2003-2008
    • California Institute of Technology
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2000-2008
    • Carnegie Institute
      Pasadena, Texas, United States
  • 1998-2008
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      • Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 1996-2008
    • University of California, San Diego
      • • Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS)
      • • Department of Physics
      San Diego, CA, United States