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Column density distribution and cosmological mass density of neutral gas: Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III Data Release 9


Noterdaeme, P; Petitjean, P; Carithers, W C; Pâris, I; Font-Ribera, Andreu (2012). Column density distribution and cosmological mass density of neutral gas: Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III Data Release 9. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 547:L1.

Abstract

We present the first results from an ongoing survey for damped Lyman-α systems (DLAs) in the spectra of z > 2 quasars observed in the course of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) III. Our full (non-statistical) sample, based on Data Release 9, comprises 12 081 systems with log N(H i) ≥ 20, out of which 6839 have log N(H i) ≥ 20.3. This is the largest DLA sample ever compiled, superseding that from SDSS-II by a factor of seven. Using a statistical sub-sample and estimating systematics from realistic mock data, we probe the N(H i) distribution at ⟨z⟩ = 2.5. Contrary to what is generally believed, the distribution extends beyond 1022 cm-2 with a moderate slope of index ≈-3.5. This result matches the opacity-corrected distribution observed at z = 0 surprisingly well. The cosmological mass density of neutral gas in DLAs is found to be ωgdla ≈ 10-3, evolving only mildly over the past 12 billion years.

Abstract

We present the first results from an ongoing survey for damped Lyman-α systems (DLAs) in the spectra of z > 2 quasars observed in the course of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) III. Our full (non-statistical) sample, based on Data Release 9, comprises 12 081 systems with log N(H i) ≥ 20, out of which 6839 have log N(H i) ≥ 20.3. This is the largest DLA sample ever compiled, superseding that from SDSS-II by a factor of seven. Using a statistical sub-sample and estimating systematics from realistic mock data, we probe the N(H i) distribution at ⟨z⟩ = 2.5. Contrary to what is generally believed, the distribution extends beyond 1022 cm-2 with a moderate slope of index ≈-3.5. This result matches the opacity-corrected distribution observed at z = 0 surprisingly well. The cosmological mass density of neutral gas in DLAs is found to be ωgdla ≈ 10-3, evolving only mildly over the past 12 billion years.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Date:2012
Deposited On:13 Feb 2013 16:05
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 18:03
Publisher:EDP Sciences
ISSN:0004-6361
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201220259

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