Journal Article

HD molecules at high redshift: the absorption system at <i>z = 2.3377</i> towards Q 1232 + 082*

A. V. Ivanchik, P. Petitjean, S. A. Balashev, R. Srianand, D. A. Varshalovich, C. Ledoux and P. Noterdaeme

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 404, issue 3, pages 1583-1590
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16382.x
HD molecules at high redshift: the absorption system at z = 2.3377 towards Q 1232 + 082*

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We present a detailed analysis of the H2 and HD absorption lines detected in the damped Lyman α (DLA) system at zabs= 2.3377 towards the quasar Q 1232 + 082. We show that this intervening cloud has a covering factor smaller than unity and covers only part of the quasi-stellar object (QSO) broad emission-line region. The zero flux level has to be corrected at the position of the saturated H2 and optically thin HD lines by about 10 per cent. We accurately determine the Doppler parameter for HD and C i lines (b= 1.86 ± 0.20 km s−1). We find a ratio N(HD)/N(H2)=(7.1+3.7−2.2) × 10−5 that is significantly higher than what is observed in molecular clouds of the Galaxy. Chemical models suggest that in the physical conditions prevailing in the central part of molecular clouds, deuterium and hydrogen are mostly in their molecular forms. Assuming this is true, we derive D/H = (3.6+1.9−1.1) × 10−5. This implies that the corresponding baryon density of the Universe is Ωb h2= 0.0182+0.0047−0.0042. This value coincides within 1σ with that derived from observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) as well as from observations of the D/H atomic ratio in low-metallicity QSO absorption-line systems. The observation of HD at high redshift is therefore a promising independent method to constrain Ωb. This observation indicates as well a low astration factor of deuterium. This can be interpreted as the consequence of an intense infall of primordial gas on to the associated galaxy.

Keywords: cosmology: observations

Journal Article.  4808 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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