J. X. Prochaska

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

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Publications (546)1852.67 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 · 5.23 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 · 5.23 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 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    Wei-Hao Wang, Nissim Kanekar, J. Xavier Prochaska
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a sensitive search for redshifted H$\alpha$ line-emission from three high-metallicity damped Ly$\alpha$ absorbers (DLAs) at $z \approx 2.4$ 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, $\approx 3.22" \times 2.92"$ corresponding to $\approx 25$ kpc $ \times 23$ kpc at $z=2.4$, we detect no statistically significant line-emission at the expected redshifted H$\alpha$ wavelengths. The measured root-mean-square noise fluctuations in $0.4"$ apertures are $1-3\times10^{-18}$ 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$_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$ ($3\sigma$) for two absorbers, and $< 11$~M$_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$ ($3\sigma$) for the third, at all impact parameters within $\approx 12.5$~kpc to the quasar sightline at the DLA redshift. For the third absorber, the SFR limit is $< 4.4$~M$_\odot$ 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.
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    ABSTRACT: Using over a million and a half extragalactic spectra we study the correlations of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) in the Milky Way. We measure the correlation between DIB strength and dust extinction for 142 DIBs using 24 stacked spectra in the reddening range E(B-V) < 0.2, many more lines than ever studied before. Most of the DIBs do not correlate with dust extinction. However, we find 10 weak and barely studied DIBs with correlations that are higher than 0.7 with dust extinction and confirm the high correlation of additional 5 strong DIBs. Furthermore, we find a pair of DIBs, 5925.9A and 5927.5A which exhibits significant negative correlation with dust extinction, indicating that their carrier may be depleted on dust. We use Machine Learning algorithms to divide the DIBs to spectroscopic families based on 250 stacked spectra. By removing the dust dependency we study how DIBs follow their local environment. We thus obtain 6 groups of weak DIBs, 4 of which are tightly associated with C2 or CN absorption lines.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2015; 451(1). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv977 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical and near-infrared (NIR) photometry of 24 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the Swift satellite and rapidly observed by the Reionization and Transients Infrared/Optical (RATIR) camera. We compare the optical flux at a fiducial time of 11 hours after the high-energy trigger to that in the X-ray regime to quantify optical darkness. 50 per cent (12/24) of all bursts in our sample and 55 per cent (12/22) of long GRBs are optically dark, which is statistically consistently with previous studies. Fitting RATIR optical and NIR spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of 16 GRBs, most (6/7) optically dark GRBs either occur at high-redshift ($z>4.5$) or have a high dust content in their host galaxies ($A_{\rm V} > 0.3$). Performing K-S tests, we compare the RATIR sample to those previously presented in the literature, finding our distributions of redshift, optical darkness, host dust extinction and X-ray derived column density to be consistent. The one reported discrepancy is with host galaxy dust content in the BAT6 sample, which appears inconsistent with our sample and other previous literature. Comparing X-ray derived host galaxy hydrogen column densities to host galaxy dust extinction, we find that GRBs tend to occur in host galaxies with a higher metal-to-dust ratio than our own Galaxy, more akin to the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Finally, to mitigate time evolution of optical darkness, we measure $\beta_{\rm OX,rest}$ at a fixed rest frame time, $t_{\rm rest}=1.5$ hours and fixed rest frame energies in the X-ray and optical regimes. Choosing to evaluate optical flux at $\lambda_{\rm rest}=0.25~\mu$m, we remove high-redshift as a source of optical darkness, demonstrating that optical darkness must result from either high-redshift, dust content in the host galaxy along the GRB sight line, or a combination of the two.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2014; 449(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv479 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present HIRES observations for 30 damped Lyman alpha 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 30 systems. Combined with previously observed large metal column density damped Lyman alpha systems, we present a sample of 44 damped Lyman alpha systems observed with high resolution spectrographs (R~30000). These damped Lyman alpha systems probe the most chemically evolved systems at redshifts greater than 1.5. We discuss the context of our sample with the general damped Lyman alpha 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.
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    ABSTRACT: Long-duration gamma-ray bursts act as beacons to the sites of star-formation in the distant universe. GRBs reveal galaxies too faint and star-forming regions too dusty to characterize in detail using any other method, and provide a powerful independent constraint on the evolution of the cosmic star-formation rate density at high-redshift. However, a full understanding of the GRB phenomenon and its relation to cosmic star-formation requires connecting the observations obtained from GRBs to the properties of the galaxies hosting them. The large majority of GRBs originate at moderate to high redshift (z>1) and Spitzer has proven crucial for understanding the host population, given its unique ability to observe the rest-frame NIR and its unrivaled sensitivity and efficiency. We propose to complete a comprehensive public legacy survey of the Swift GRB host population to build on our earlier successes and push beyond the statistical limits of previous, smaller efforts. Our survey will enable a diverse range of GRB and galaxy science including: (1) to quantitatively and robustly map the connection between GRBs and cosmic star-formation to constrain the GRB progenitor and calibrate GRB rate-based measurements of the high-z cosmic star-formation rate; (2) to constrain the luminosity function of star-forming galaxies at the faint end and at high redshift; (3) to understand how the ISM properties seen in absorption in high-redshift galaxies unveiled by GRBs - metallicity, dust column, dust properties - connect to global properties of the host galaxies such as mass and age. Building on a decade of experience at both observatories, our observations will create an enduring joint Swift-Spitzer legacy sample and provide the definitive resource with which to examine all aspects of the GRB/galaxy connection for years and possibly decades to come.
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    ABSTRACT: We use spectroscopy of close pairs of quasars to study diffuse gas in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) surrounding a sample of 40 Damped Lya systems (DLAs). The primary sightline in each quasar pair probes an intervening DLA in the redshift range 1.6 < z_DLA < 3.6, such that the second quasar sightline then probes Lya, CII, SiII, and CIV absorption in the CGM transverse to the DLA to projected distances $R_{\perp} < 300$ kpc. Analysis of the Lya profiles in these CGM sightlines constrains the covering fraction (f_C) of optically thick HI (having column density N_HI > 10^17.2 cm^-2) to be greater than ~30% within $R_{\perp} < 200$ kpc of DLAs. Strong SiII 1526 absorption with equivalent width W_1526 > 0.2 Ang occurs with an incidence f_C (W_1526 > 0.2 Ang) = 20(+12/-8)% within $R_{\perp}<100$ kpc, indicating that low-ionization metal absorption associated with DLAs probes material at a physical distance R_3D < 30 kpc. However, we find that strong CIV 1548 absorption is ubiquitous in these environments (f_C (W_1548 > 0.2 Ang) = 57(+12/-13)% within $R_{\perp} < 100$ kpc), and in addition exhibits a high degree of kinematic coherence on scales up to ~175 kpc. We infer that this high-ionization material arises predominantly in large, quiescent structures extending beyond the scale of the DLA host dark matter halos rather than in ongoing galactic winds. The Lya equivalent width in the DLA-CGM is anticorrelated with $R_{\perp}$ at >98% confidence, suggesting that DLAs arise close to the centers of their host halos rather than on their outskirts. Finally, the average Lya, CII and CIV equivalent widths are consistent with those measured around z~2 Lyman Break Galaxies. Assuming that DLAs trace a galaxy population with lower masses and luminosities, this finding implies that the absorption strength of cool circumgalactic material has a weak dependence on dark matter halo mass for M_h < 10^12 M_sun.
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    Marcel Neeleman, J. Xavier Prochaska, Arthur. M. Wolfe
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    ABSTRACT: A new method is used to measure the physical conditions of the gas in damped Lyman-alpha systems (DLAs). Using high resolution absorption spectra of a sample of 80 DLAs, we are able to measure the ratio of the upper to lower fine-structure levels of the ground state of C II and Si II. These ratios are determined solely by the physical conditions of the gas. We explore the allowed physical parameter space using a Monte Carlo Markov Chain method to constrain simultaneously the temperature, neutral hydrogen density, and electron density of each DLA. The results indicate that at least 5 % of all DLAs have the bulk of their gas in a dense, cold phase with typical densities of ~100 cm-3 and temperatures below 500 K. We further find that the typical pressure of DLAs in our sample is log(P/k) = 3.4 [K cm-3], which is comparable to the pressure of the local interstellar medium (ISM), and that the components containing the bulk of the neutral gas can be quite small with absorption sizes as small as a few parsec. We show that the majority of the systems are consistent with having densities significantly higher than expected from a purely canonical WNM, indicating that significant quantities of dense gas (i.e. n_H > 0.1 cm-3) are required to match observations. Finally, we identify 8 systems with positive detections of Si II*. These systems have pressures (P/k) in excess of 20000 K cm-3, which suggest that these systems tag a highly turbulent ISM in young, star-forming galaxies.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2014; 800(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/800/1/7 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current galaxy formation paradigm postulates that a significant amount of gas accretes onto galaxies from the IGM in a cold T ~ 104 K phase, and many have argued that this gas should be detectable in diffuse Lyα emission. However, so far, there are no convincing direct detections.We are conducting a deep (down to 1σ ~ 5 − 10 × 10−19 erg s−1 cm−2 arcsec−2) and the first statistical survey matching the Lyα line around radio-quiet quasars at z ~ 2. By taking advantage of the boost in fluorescent Lyα emission due to the ionizing radiation emitted by a luminous QSO that, like a flashlight, can illuminate the hydrogen in its vicinity, we will be able to constrain some of the properties of the gas sorrounding z ~ 2 QSOs. In particular, with this unique dataset, we can conduct the first deep statistical census of the size, morphology, luminosity, frequency, and covering factor of Lyα emission around QSOs.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 10/2014; 9(S304):253-256. DOI:10.1017/S1743921314003998
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    J. Xavier Prochaska, Marie Wingyee Lau, Joseph F. Hennawi
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    ABSTRACT: We survey the incidence and absorption strength of the metal-line transitions CII 1334 and CIV from the circumgalactic medium (CGM) surrounding z~2 quasars, which act as signposts for massive dark matter halos M_halo~10^12.5 Msun. On scales of the virial radius (Mvir~160kpc), we measure a high covering fraction fC=0.73+/-0.10 to strong CII absorption (rest equivalent width W1334>0.2A), implying a massive reservoir of cool (T~10^4K) metal enriched gas. We conservatively estimate a metal mass exceeding 10^8 Msun. We propose these metals trace enrichment of the incipient intragroup/intracluster medium that these halos eventually inhabit. This cool CGM around quasars is the pinnacle amongst galaxies observed at all epochs, as regards covering fraction and average equivalent width of HI Lya and low-ion metal absorption. We argue that the properties of this cool CGM primarily reflect the halo mass, and that other factors such as feedback, star-formation rate, and accretion from the intergalactic medium are secondary. We further estimate, that the CGM of massive, z~2 galaxies accounts for the majority of strong MgII absorption along random quasar sightlines. Lastly, we detect an excess of strong CIV absorption (W1548>0.3A) over random incidence to 1Mpc physical impact parameter and measure the quasar-CIV cross-correlation function: xi(r)=(r/r0)^-g with r0 = 7.5Mpc and g=1.7. Consistent with previous work on larger scales, we infer that this highly ionized CIV gas traces massive (10^12 Msun) halos.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 796(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/796/2/140 · 6.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

10k Citations
1,852.67 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 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