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2016A&A...590A..68R - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 590A, 68-68 (2016/6-1)

An HST/COS legacy survey of intervening Si III absorption in the extended gaseous halos of low-redshift galaxies.


Abstract (from CDS):

Aims. Doubly ionized silicon (SiIII) is a powerful tracer of diffuse ionized gas inside and outside of galaxies.It can be observed in the local Universe in ultraviolet (UV) absorption against bright extragalactic background sources. We here present an extensive study of intervening SiIII-selected absorbers and study the properties of the warm circumgalactic medium (CGM) around low-redshift (z<=0.1) galaxies.
Methods. We analyzed the UV absorption spectra of 303 extragalactic background sources, as obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) on-board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We developed a geometrical model for the absorption-cross section of the CGM around the local galaxy population and compared the observed SiIII absorption statistics with predictions provided by the model. We also compared redshifts and positions of the absorbers with those of ∼64000 galaxies using archival galaxy-survey data to investigate the relation between intervening SiIII absorbers and the CGM.
Results. Along a total redshift path of Δz≃24, we identify 69 intervening SiIII systems that all show associated absorption from other low and high ions (e.g., HI, SiII, SiIV, CII, CIV). We derive a bias-corrected number density of dN/dz(SiIII)=2.5±0.4 for absorbers with column densities logN(SiIII)>12.2, which is ∼3 times the number density of strong MgII systems at z=0. This number density matches the expected cross section of a SiIII absorbing CGM around the local galaxy population with a mean covering fraction of <fc> =0.69. For the majority (∼60 percent) of the absorbers, we identify possible host galaxies within 300km/s of the absorbers and derive impact parameters ρ<200kpc, demonstrating that the spatial distributions of SiIII absorbers and galaxies are highly correlated.
Conclusions. Our study indicates that the majority of SiIII-selected absorbers in our sample trace the CGM of nearby galaxies within their virial radii at a typical covering fraction of ∼70 percent. We estimate that diffuse gas in the CGM around galaxies, as traced by SiIII, contains substantially more (more than twice as much) baryonic mass than their neutral interstellar medium.

Abstract Copyright: © ESO, 2016

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: halos - galaxies: formation - intergalactic medium - quasars: absorption lines

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/A+A/590/A68): tablea1.dat tablea2.dat>

Simbad objects: 308

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