J. X. Prochaska

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

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Publications (558)1877.71 Total impact

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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.
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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.
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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; 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.
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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.
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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).
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    ABSTRACT: The recent discovery by Cantalupo et al. (2014) of the largest (~500 kpc) and luminous Ly-alpha nebula associated with the quasar UM287 (z=2.279) poses a great challenge to our current understanding of the astrophysics of the halos hosting massive z~2 galaxies. Either an enormous reservoir of cool gas is required $M\simeq10^{12}$ $M_{\odot}$, exceeding the expected baryonic mass available, or one must invoke extreme gas clumping factors not present in high-resolution cosmological simulations. However, observations of Ly-alpha emission alone cannot distinguish between these two scenarios. We have obtained the deepest ever spectroscopic integrations in the HeII and CIV lines with the goal of detecting extended line emission, but detect neither line to a 3$\sigma$ limiting SB $\simeq10^{-18}$ erg/s/cm$^2$/arcsec$^2$. We construct models of the expected emission spectrum in the highly probable scenario that the nebula is powered by photoionization from the central hyper-luminous quasar. The non-detection of HeII implies that the nebular emission arises from a mass $M_{\rm c}\lesssim6.4\times10^{10}$ $M_{\odot}$ of cool gas on ~200 kpc scales, distributed in a population of remarkably dense ($n_{\rm H}\gtrsim3$ cm$^{-3}$) and compact ($R\lesssim20$ pc) clouds, which would clearly be unresolved by current cosmological simulations. Given the large gas motions suggested by the Ly-alpha line ($v\simeq$ 500 km/s), it is unclear how these clouds survive without being disrupted by hydrodynamic instabilities. Our study serves as a benchmark for future deep integrations with current and planned wide-field IFU such as MUSE, KCWI, and KMOS. Our work suggest that a $\simeq$ 10 hr exposure would likely detect ~10 rest-frame UV/optical emission lines, opening up the possibility of conducting detailed photoionization modeling to infer the physical state of gas in the CGM.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2015; 809(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/809/2/163 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report here the discovery by the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) of iPTF14yb, a luminous ($M_{r}\approx-27.8$ mag), cosmological (redshift 1.9733), rapidly fading optical transient. We demonstrate, based on probabilistic arguments and a comparison with the broader population, that iPTF14yb is the optical afterglow of the long-duration gamma-ray burst GRB 140226A. This marks the first unambiguous discovery of a GRB afterglow prior to (and thus entirely independent of) an associated high-energy trigger. We estimate the rate of iPTF14yb-like sources (i.e., cosmologically distant relativistic explosions) based on iPTF observations, inferring an all-sky value of $\Re_{\mathrm{rel}}=610$ yr$^{-1}$ (68% confidence interval of 110-2000 yr$^{-1}$). Our derived rate is consistent (within the large uncertainty) with the all-sky rate of on-axis GRBs derived by the Swift satellite. Finally, we briefly discuss the implications of the nondetection to date of bona fide "orphan" afterglows (i.e., those lacking detectable high-energy emission) on GRB beaming and the degree of baryon loading in these relativistic jets.
    04/2015; 803(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/803/2/L24
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    ABSTRACT: The ionising continuum from active galactic nuclei (AGN) is fundamental for interpreting their broad emission lines and understanding their impact on the surrounding gas. Furthermore, it provides hints on how matter accretes onto supermassive black holes. Using HST's Wide Field Camera 3 we have constructed the first stacked ultraviolet (rest-frame wavelengths 600-2500\AA) spectrum of 53 luminous quasars at z=2.4, with a state-of-the-art correction for the intervening Lyman forest and Lyman continuum absorption. The continuum slope ($f_\nu \propto \nu^{\alpha_\nu}$) of the full sample shows a break at ~912\AA\ with spectral index $\alpha_\nu=-0.61\pm0.01$ at $\lambda>912$\AA\ and a softening at shorter wavelengths ($\alpha_\nu=-1.70 \pm 0.61$ at $\lambda\leq 912$\AA). Our analysis proves that a proper intergalactic medium absorption correction is required to establish the intrinsic continuum emission of quasars. We interpret our average ultraviolet spectrum in the context of photoionisation, accretion disk models, and quasar contribution to the ultraviolet background. We find that observed broad line ratios are consistent with those predicted assuming an ionising slope of $\alpha_\mathrm{ion}=$-2.0, similar to the observed ionising spectrum in the same wavelength range. The continuum break and softening are consistent with accretion disk plus X-ray corona models when black hole spin is taken into account. Our spectral energy distribution yields a 30% increase to previous estimates of the specific quasar emissivity, such that quasars may contribute significantly to the total specific Lyman limit emissivity estimated from the Ly$\alpha$ forest at z<3.2.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 449(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv516 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the low-redshift (z~0.2) circumgalactic medium by comparing absorption-line data from the COS-Halos Survey to absorption around a matched galaxy sample from two cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. The models include different prescriptions for galactic outflows, namely hybrid energy/momentum driven wind (ezw), and constant winds (cw). We extract for comparison direct observables including equivalent widths, covering factors, ion ratios, and kinematics. Both wind models are generally in good agreement with these observations for HI and certain low ionization metal lines, but show poorer agreement with higher ionization metal lines including SiIII and OVI that are well-observed by COS-Halos. These discrepancies suggest that both wind models predict too much cool, metal-enriched gas and not enough hot gas, and/or that the metals are not sufficiently well-mixed. This may reflect our model assumption of ejecting outflows as cool and unmixing gas. Our ezw simulation includes a heuristic prescription to quench massive galaxies by super-heating its ISM gas, which we show yields sufficient low ionisation absorption to be broadly consistent with observations, but also substantial OVI absorption that is inconsistent with data, suggesting that gas around quenched galaxies in the real Universe does not cool. At impact parameters of <50 kpc, recycling winds dominate the absorption of low ions and even HI, while OVI almost always arises from metals ejected longer than 1 Gyr ago. The similarity between the wind models is surprising, since we show that they differ substantially in their predicted amount and phase distribution of halo gas. We show that this similarity owes mainly to our comparison here at fixed stellar mass rather than at fixed halo mass in our previous works, which suggests that CGM properties are more closely tied to the stellar mass of galaxies rather than halo mass.
  • W.-H. Wang · Nissim Kanekar · J. Xavier Prochaska
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a sensitive search for redshifted Hα line-emission from three high-metallicity damped Lyα absorbers (DLAs) at z ≈ 2.4 with the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrometer (NIFS) on the Gemini-North telescope, assisted by the ALTtitude conjugate Adaptive optics for the InfraRed (ALTAIR) system with a laser guide star. Within the NIFS field-of-view, ≈3.22 arcsec × 2.92 arcsec corresponding to ≈25 kpc × 23 kpc at z = 2.4, we detect no statistically significant line-emission at the expected redshifted Hα wavelengths. The measured root-mean-square noise fluctuations in 0.4 arcsec apertures are 1–3 × 10−18 erg s−1 cm−2. Our analysis of simulated, compact, line-emitting sources yields stringent limits on the star formation rates (SFRs) of the three DLAs, <2.2 M⊙ yr−1 (3σ) for two absorbers, and <11 M⊙ yr−1 (3σ) for the third, at all impact parameters within ≈12.5 kpc to the quasar sightline at the DLA redshift. For the third absorber, the SFR limit is <4.4 M⊙ yr−1 for locations away from the quasar sightline. These results demonstrate the potential of adaptive optics-assisted, integral field unit searches for galaxies associated with high-z DLAs.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2015; 448(3):2832-2839. DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv171 · 5.11 Impact Factor
  • Dalya Baron · Dovi Poznanski · Darach Watson · Yushu Yao · J. Xavier Prochaska
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    ABSTRACT: Using over a million and a half extragalactic spectra we study the properties of the mysterious diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) in the Milky Way. These data provide us with an unprecedented sampling of the skies at high Galactic latitude and low dust column density. We present our method, study the correlation of the equivalent width of eight DIBs with dust extinction and with a few atomic species, and the distribution of four DIBs – 5780.6, 5797.1, 6204.3, and 6613.6 Å – over nearly 15 000 deg2. As previously found, DIBs strengths correlate with extinction and therefore inevitably with each other. However, we show that DIBs can exist even in dust-free areas. Furthermore, we find that the DIBs correlation with dust varies significantly over the sky. DIB under- or overdensities, relative to the expectation from dust, are often spread over hundreds of square degrees. These patches are different for the four DIBs, showing that they are unlikely to originate from the same carrier, as previously suggested.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2015; 447(1):545-558. DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu2448 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present HIRES observations for 31 damped Lyα systems, selected on the basis of their large metal column densities from previous lower-resolution data. The measured metal column densities for Fe, Zn, S, Si, Cr, Mn, and Ni are provided for these 31 systems. Combined with previously observed large metal column density damped Lyα systems, we present a sample of 44 damped Lyα systems observed with high-resolution spectrographs (R ∼ 30,000). These damped Lyα systems probe the most chemically evolved systems at redshifts greater than 1.5. We discuss the context of our sample with the general damped Lyα population, demonstrating that we are probing the top 10% of metal column densities with our sample. In a companion paper, we will present an analysis of the sample’s elemental abundances in the context of galactic chemical enrichment.
    Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 02/2015; 127(948):000-000. DOI:10.1086/680210 · 3.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

10k Citations
1,877.71 Total Impact Points


  • 1925–2015
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2014
    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
      Berkeley, California, United States
    • 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
  • 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
  • 2004–2011
    • University of California Observatories
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Leicester
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Leicester, ENG, United Kingdom
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Chicago, Illinois, 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
  • 2007
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2006
    • Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research
      Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
  • 2002
    • University of Hamburg
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany