[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This is the second paper of a series reporting on the results from a survey conducted with the ESO VLT/X-shooter spectrograph. We target high-metallicity damped Lyman α absorbers (DLAs) with the aim of investigating the relation between galaxies detected in emission and those detected in absorption. Here, we report on the discovery of the galaxy counterpart of the zabs= 2.58 DLA on the line-of-sight to the z= 3.07 quasar SDSS J 091826.16+163609.0 (hereafter Q 0918+1636). The galaxy counterpart of the DLA is detected in the [O iii]λ5007 and [O ii]λλ3726, 3729 emission lines redshifted into the NIR at an impact parameter of 2.0 arcsec (16 kpc at z= 2.58). Lyα emission is not detected down to a 3σ detection limit of 5 × 10−18 erg s−1 cm−2, which, compared to the strength of the oxygen lines, implies that Lyα emission from this galaxy is suppressed by more than an order of magnitude. The DLA has one of the highest metallicities measured so far at comparable redshifts. We find evidence for substantial depletion of refractory elements on to dust grains. Fitting the main metal line component of the DLA, which is located at zabs= 2.5832, we measure the metal abundances from Zn ii, S ii, Si ii, Cr ii, Mn ii, Fe ii and Ni ii to be −0.12 ± 0.05, −0.26 ± 0.05, −0.46 ± 0.05, −0.88 ± 0.05, −0.92 ± 0.05, −1.03 ± 0.05 and −0.78 ± 0.05, respectively. In addition, we detect absorption in the Lyman and Werner bands of molecular hydrogen (H2), which represents the first detection of H2 molecules with X-shooter. The background quasar Q 0918+1636 is amongst the reddest QSOs at redshifts 3.02 < z < 3.12 from the SDSS catalogue. Its UV to NIR spectrum is well fitted by a composite QSO spectrum reddened by SMC-/LMC-like extinction curves at zabs= 2.58 with a significant amount of extinction given by AV≈ 0.2 mag. This supports previous claims that there may be more metal-rich DLAs missing from current samples due to dust reddening of the background QSOs. The fact that there is evidence for dust both in the central emitting regions of the galaxy (as evidenced by the lack of Lyα emission) and at an impact parameter of 16 kpc (as probed by the DLA) suggests that dust is widespread in this system.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 05/2011; 413(4):2481 - 2488. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have initiated a survey using the newly commissioned X-shooter spectrograph to target candidate relatively metal-rich damped Lyα absorbers (DLAs). Our rationale is that high-metallicity DLAs due to the luminosity–metallicity relation likely will have the most luminous galaxy counterparts. In addition, the spectral coverage of X-shooter allows us to search for not only Lyα emission, but also rest-frame optical emission lines. We have chosen DLAs where the strongest rest-frame optical lines ([O ii], [O iii], Hβ and Hα) fall in the near-infrared atmospheric transmission bands. In this first paper resulting from the survey, we report on the discovery of the galaxy counterpart of the zabs= 2.354 DLA towards the z= 2.926 quasar Q 2222−0946. This DLA is amongst the most metal-rich z > 2 DLAs studied so far at comparable redshifts and there is evidence for substantial depletion of refractory elements on to dust grains. We measure metallicities from Zn ii, Si ii, Ni ii, Mn ii and Fe ii of −0.46 ± 0.07, − 0.51 ± 0.06, − 0.85 ± 0.06, − 1.23 ± 0.06 and −0.99 ± 0.06, respectively. The galaxy is detected in the Lyα, [O iii]λλ4959, 5007 and Hα emission lines at an impact parameter of about 0.8 arcsec (6 kpc at zabs= 2.354). Based on the Hα line, we infer a star formation rate of 10 M⊙ yr−1, which is a lower limit due to the possibility of slit loss. Compared to the recently determined Hα luminosity function for z= 2.2 galaxies, the DLA-galaxy counterpart has a luminosity of L∼ 0.1L*Hα. The emission-line ratios are 4.0 (Lyα/Hα) and 1.2 ([O iii]/Hα). In particular, the Lyα line shows clear evidence for resonant scattering effects, namely an asymmetric, redshifted (relative to the systemic redshift) component and a much weaker blueshifted component. The fact that the blueshifted component is relatively weak indicates the presence of a galactic wind.The properties of the galaxy counterpart of this DLA are consistent with the prediction that metal-rich DLAs are associated with the most luminous of the DLA-galaxy counterparts.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2010; 408(4):2128 - 2136. · 5.52 Impact Factor