Astrophys. J., 872, 81-81 (2019/February-2)
The COS CGM compendium. II. Metallicities of the partial and Lyman limit systems at z <= 1.
WOTTA C.B., LEHNER N., HOWK J.C., O'MEARA J.M., OPPENHEIMER B.D. and COOKSEY K.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the results from our COS circumgalactic medium (CGM) compendium (CCC), a survey of the CGM at z <= 1 using H I-selected absorbers with 15 < logNHI < 19. We focus here on 82 partial Lyman limit systems (pLLSs, 16.2 <= logNHI < 17.2) and 29 LLSs (17.2 <= logNHI < 19). Using Bayesian techniques and Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling of a grid of photoionization models, we derive the posterior probability distribution functions (PDFs) for the metallicity of each absorber in CCC. We show that the combined pLLS metallicity PDF at z <= 1 has two main peaks at [X/H] ≃ -1.7 and -0.4, with a strong dip at [X/H] ≃ -1. The metallicity PDF of the LLSs might be more complicated than a unimodal or bimodal distribution. The pLLSs and LLSs probe a similar range of metallicities -3 <= [X/H] <= +0.4, but the fraction of very metal-poor absorbers with [X/H] <= -1.4 is much larger for the pLLSs than the LLSs. In contrast, absorbers with logNHI >= 19 have mostly -1 <= [X/H] <= 0 at z <= 1. The metal-enriched gas probed by pLLSs and LLSs confirms that galaxies that have been enriching their CGM over billions of years. Surprisingly, despite this enrichment, there is also abundant metal-poor CGM gas (41%-59% of the pLLSs have [X/H] <= -1.4), representing a reservoir of near-pristine gas around z <= 1 galaxies. We compare our empirical results to recent cosmological zoom simulations, finding some discrepancies, including an overabundance of metal-enriched CGM gas in simulations.
© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
cosmology: observations - galaxies: abundances - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: halos - intergalactic medium - quasars: absorption lines
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