SIMBAD references

2009MNRAS.395.1476R - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 395, 1476-1490 (2009/May-3)

A downturn in intergalactic C IV as redshift 6 is approached.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present the results of the largest survey to date for intergalactic metals at redshifts z > 5, using near-IR spectra of nine quasi-stellar objects with emission redshifts zem> 5.7. We detect three strong Civ doublets at zabs= 5.7-5.8, two low-ionization systems at zabs> 5 and numerous Mgii absorbers at zabs= 2.5-2.8. We find, for the first time, a change in the comoving mass density of Civ ions as we look back to redshifts z > 5. At a mean <z> = 5.76, we deduce ΩCiv= (4.4±2.6)x10–9 which implies a drop by a factor of ∼3.5 compared to the value at z < 4.7, after accounting for the differing sensitivities of different surveys. The observed number of Civ doublets is also lower by a similar factor, compared to expectations for a non-evolving column density distribution of absorbers.

These results point to a rapid build-up of intergalactic Civ over a period of only ∼300Myr; such a build-up could reflect the accumulation of metals associated with the rising levels of star formation activity from z ∼ 9 indicated by galaxy counts, and/or an increasing degree of ionization of the intergalactic medium (IGM), following the overlap of ionization fronts from star-forming regions. If the value of ΩCiv we derive is typical of the IGM at large, it would imply a metallicity ZIGM≳ 10–4Z. The early-type stars responsible for synthesizing these metals would have emitted only about one Lyman continuum photon per baryon prior to z = 5.8; such a background is insufficient to keep the IGM ionized and we speculate on possible factors which could make up the required shortfall.

Abstract Copyright: © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 RAS

Journal keyword(s): intergalactic medium - quasars: absorption lines - cosmology: observations

Simbad objects: 13

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