Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 371, 431-443 (2006/September-1)
A survey for redshifted molecular and atomic absorption lines - I. The Parkes half-Jansky flat-spectrum red quasar sample.
CURRAN S.J., WHITING M.T., MURPHY M.T., WEBB J.K., LONGMORE S.N., PIHLSTROM Y.M., ATHREYA R. and BLAKE C.
Abstract (from CDS):
We are currently undertaking a large survey for redshifted atomic and molecular absorption lines at radio frequencies. In this paper, we present the results from the first phase of this survey: the search for Hi 21-cm and OH 18-cm absorption lines in the hosts of reddened quasars and radio galaxies. Although we observed each source for up to several hours with two of the world's most sensitive radio telescopes, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), only one clear and one tentative detection were obtained: Hi absorption at z = 0.097 in PKS 1555-140 and OH absorption at z = 0.126 in PKS 2300-189, respectively, with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). For the latter, no Hi absorption was detected at the same redshift as the borderline OH detection. In order to determine why no clear molecular absorption was detected in any of the 13 sources searched, we investigate the properties of the five redshifted systems currently known to exhibit OH absorption. In four of these, molecules were first detected via millimetre-wave transitions, and the flat radio spectra indicate compact background continuum sources, which may suggest a high degree of coverage of the background source by the molecular clouds in the absorber. Furthermore, for these systems we find a relationship between the molecular line strength and red optical-near-infrared (V - K) colours, thus supporting the notion that the reddening of these sources is due to dust, which provides an environment conducive to the formation of molecules. Upon comparison with the V - K colours of our sample, this relationship suggests that, presuming the reddening occurs at the host galaxy redshift at least in some of the targets, many of our observations still fall short of the sensitivity required to detect OH absorption, although a confirmation of the `detection' of OH in 2300-189 could contravene this.
2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 RAS
galaxies: abundances - galaxies: high-redshift - quasars: absorption lines - cosmology: observations - cosmology: early Universe - radio lines: galaxies
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