Constraints on the universal C IV mass density at z ∼ 6 from early infrared spectra obtained with the Magellan fire spectrograph

Robert A. Simcoe, Kathy L. Cooksey, Michael Matejek, Adam J. Burgasser, John Bochanski, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Rebecca A. Bernstein, Judith L. Pipher, William J. Forrest, Craig McMurtry, Xiaohui Fan, John O'Meara

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58 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a new determination of the intergalactic C IV mass density at 4.3 < z < 6.3. Our constraints are derived from high signal-to-noise spectra of seven quasars at z > 5.8 obtained with the newly commissioned Folded-Port Infrared Echellette (FIRE) spectrograph on the Magellan Baade telescope, coupled with six observations of northern objects taken from the literature. We confirm the presence of a downturn in the C IV abundance at 〈z〉 = 5.66 by a factor of 4.1 relative to its value at 〈z〉 = 4.96, as measured in the same sight lines. In the FIRE sample, a strong system previously reported in the literature as C IV at z = 5.82 is re-identified as Mg II at z = 2.78, leading to a substantial downward revision in for these prior studies. Additionally, we confirm the presence of at least two systems with low-ionization C II, Si II, and O I absorption but relatively weak signal from C IV. The latter systems may be of interest if the downward trend in at high redshift is driven in part by ionization effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume743
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 10 2011

Keywords

  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • intergalactic medium
  • quasars: absorption lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Simcoe, R. A., Cooksey, K. L., Matejek, M., Burgasser, A. J., Bochanski, J., Lovegrove, E., Bernstein, R. A., Pipher, J. L., Forrest, W. J., McMurtry, C., Fan, X., & O'Meara, J. (2011). Constraints on the universal C IV mass density at z ∼ 6 from early infrared spectra obtained with the Magellan fire spectrograph. Astrophysical Journal, 743(1), [21]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/743/1/21