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Ultra-strong MgII Absorbers as a Signature of Cool Intragroup Gas

Gauthier, Jean-René (2013) Ultra-strong MgII Absorbers as a Signature of Cool Intragroup Gas. . (Submitted)

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We present the results of a spectroscopic survey of galaxies in the vicinity of an ultra-strong MgII ⋋⋋2786, 2803 absorber of rest-frame absorption equivalent width W_r(2796) = 4.2Å at z = 0.5624. This absorber was originally found at projected separation p = 246 kpc of a luminous red galaxy (LRG) at z = 0.5604. Magellan IMACs spectroscopy has revealed two galaxies at p < 60 kpc (z = 0.5623 and z = 0.5621) and a third one at p = 209 kpc (z = 0.5623) near the redshift of the absorber. These findings indicate that the absorbing gas resides in a group environment. Combining SDSS broadband photometry with additional B-, K_s-band images and optical spectroscopy, we perform a stellar population synthesis analysis of the group members to characterize their star formation histories, on-going star formation rates (SFR), and stellar masses. We find that the two group members at p < 60 kpc are best characterized by old stellar populations (> 1 Gyr) and little on-going star formation activity (SFR < 2.9 M_☉ /yr), while the third object at p = 209 kpc exhibit [O II]- and continuum-derived SFR consistent with SFR> 3.0 M_☉/yr. Including the two ultra-strong MgII absorbers analyzed by Nestor et al. (2011), this is the third ultra-strong MgII absorber for which a detailed study of the galactic environment is available. All three aborbers are found in galaxy groups. We examine different physical mechanisms giving rise to the absorbing gas including starburst driven-outflows, cold filaments, extended rotating disks, and stripped gas. We argue that the large equivalent width observed in these absorbers is more likely due to the gas dynamics of the intragroup medium rather than driven by starburst outflows.

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Additional Information:It is a pleasure to thank H.-W. Chen, M. Rauch, J. Mulchaey, T. Tal, K. Cooksey, A. Diamond-Stanic, G. Becker and C. Steidel for helpful comments and discussions. We also thank the referee for helpful comments that improve the draft significantly. JRG gratefully acknowledges the financial support of a Millikan Fellowship provided by Caltech. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through grant AST-1108815. This paper is dedicated to the memory of Caltech Professor W.L.W. Sargent.
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Caltech Millikan FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: groups: general, quasars: absorption lines, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: general, galaxies: haloes, galaxies: structure
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130415-082218503
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37925
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:15 Apr 2013 15:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:52

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