Astrophys. J., 728, L16 (2011/February-2)
A high-metallicity, high-velocity cloud along the Mrk 421 sight line: a tracer of Complex M?
YAO Y., SHULL J.M. and DANFORTH C.W.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a new measurement, 0.85-3.5 Z☉, of the metallicity of high-velocity cloud (HVC) Complex M by analyzing ultraviolet spectroscopic observations of the blazar Mrk 421 taken with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope and the Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer. Although an HVC at VLSR= -131 km/s is not visible in 21 cm emission (log N_ H I_< 18.38; 3σ), it is detected in ultraviolet absorption lines of C II, N I, O I, O VI, Si II, Si III, Si IV, Fe II, and H I. By referencing velocities to the intermediate-velocity cloud at -60 km/s and jointly analyzing H I absorption from high-order H I Lyman lines, we measure log N_ H I_= 16.84+0.34–0.13(1σ) in the HVC. Comparing H I and O I, we find an HVC metallicity [O/H] =0.32+0.22–0.39. Because the sight line passes ∼4° from the HVCs in Complex M, the detected HVC may represent the highest velocity component of the Complex, and our measurements provide a lower limit to its metallicity. The high, possibly super-solar metallicity, together with the low distance, z < 3.5 kpc, above the Galactic plane suggests that Complex M is condensed returning gas from a Galactic fountain.
ISM: abundances - ISM: clouds - ISM: structure - ultraviolet: ISM
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