Journal Article

New Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle Observations of <i>z</i> < 1.5 sub-damped Lyman α systems

Joseph D. Meiring, Varsha P. Kulkarni, James T. Lauroesch, Celine Péroux, Pushpa Khare and Donald G. York

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 393, issue 4, pages 1513-1530
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
New Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle Observations of z < 1.5 sub-damped Lyman α systems

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The damped Lyman α (DLA) and sub-damped Lyman α (sub-DLA) systems seen in the spectra of quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) offer a unique way to study the interstellar medium (ISM) of high-redshift galaxies. In this paper, we report on new abundance determinations in a sample of 10 new systems, nine of the lesser studied sub-DLAs and one DLA along the line of sight to seven QSOs from spectra taken with the Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle spectrograph. Lines of Mg i, Mg ii, Al ii, Al iii, Ca ii, Mn ii, Fe ii and Zn ii were detected. Here, we give the column densities and equivalent widths of the observed absorption lines, as well as the abundances determined for these systems. Zn, a relatively undepleted element in the local ISM is detected in one system with a high metallicity of [Zn/H]=+0.27 ± 0.18. In another system, a high abundance based on the more depleted element Fe is seen with [Fe/H]=−0.37 ± 0.13, although Zn is not detected. The -weighted mean metallicity of these sub-DLA systems based on Fe is 〈[Fe/H]〉=−0.76 ± 0.11, nearly ∼0.7 dex higher (a factor of 5) than what is seen in DLAs in this redshift range. The relative abundance of [Mn/Fe] is also investigated. A clear trend is visible for these systems as well as systems from the literature, with [Mn/Fe] increasing with increasing metallicity in good agreement with Milky Way stellar abundances.

Keywords: ISM: abundances; quasars: absorption lines

Journal Article.  6891 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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