A Caltech Library Service

The Prompt Inventory from Very Massive Stars and Elemental Abundances in Lyα Systems

Qian, Y.-Z. and Sargent, W. L. W. and Wasserburg, G. J. (2002) The Prompt Inventory from Very Massive Stars and Elemental Abundances in Lyα Systems. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 569 (2). L61-L64. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1086/340641.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


It has been proposed that very massive stars (VMSs) dominated heavy-element production until a "metallicity" threshold corresponding to [Fe/H] ≈ -3 was reached. This results in a prompt (P) inventory of elements, the abundances of which were determined from observations of Galactic halo stars with [Fe/H] ≈ -3. We calculate Ω_P(E) from the P inventory for a large number of elements in the intergalactic medium (IGM). Using the available data on Ω(E_(ion)) for C IV, O VI, and Si IV in Lyα systems, we find that the ionization fractions calculated from Ω(E_(ion))/Ω_P(E) are, within reasonable uncertainties, compatible with the values estimated from ionization models for Lyα systems. This agreement appears to hold from z ~ 0.09 to ~4.6, indicating that the bulk of the baryonic matter remains dispersed with a fixed chemical composition. We conclude that the P inventory was established in the epoch prior to z ~ 4.6. The dispersal of processed baryonic matter to the general IGM is considered to be the result of energetic VMS explosions that disrupted baryonic aggregates until the "metallicity" threshold was reached to permit normal astration. The formation of most galaxies is considered to have occurred subsequent to the achievement of this metallicity threshold in the IGM.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Wasserburg, G. J.0000-0002-7957-8029
Additional Information:© 2002 American Astronomical Society. Received 2002 February 19; accepted 2002 March 12; published 2002 March 25. We would like to dedicate this Letter to the memory of Fritz Zwicky. We thank Antoinette Songaila, Todd Tripp, and David Tytler for generously answering many questions and for guiding us through their data. This work was supported in part by the Department of Energy under grants DE-FG02-87ER40328 and DE-FG02-00ER41149, by the NSF under grant AST 99-00733, and by NASA under grant NAG5-10293, Caltech division contribution 8780(1091).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-87ER40328
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-00ER41149
NSFAST 99-00733
Subject Keywords: early universe; intergalactic medium; quasars: absorption lines
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences8780
Lunatic Asylum Lab1091
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131212-084338577
Persistent URL:
Official Citation: The Prompt Inventory from Very Massive Stars and Elemental Abundances in Lyα Systems Y.-Z. Qian et al. 2002 ApJ 569 L61
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42973
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Dec 2013 17:48
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:31

Repository Staff Only: item control page