Journal Article

High-resolution spectroscopy of the 3D cosmic web with close QSO groups*

M. Cappetta, V. D'Odorico, S. Cristiani, F. Saitta and M. Viel

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 2, pages 1290-1300
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16981.x
High-resolution spectroscopy of the 3D cosmic web with close QSO groups*

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We study the 3D distribution of matter at z∼ 2 using high-resolution spectra of quasi-stellar object (QSO) pairs and simulated spectra drawn from cosmological hydrodynamical simulations. We present a sample of 15 QSOs, corresponding to 21 baselines of angular separations evenly distributed between ∼1 and 14 arcmin, observed with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (ESO–VLT). The observed correlation functions of the transmitted flux in the H i Lyman α forest transverse to and along the line of sight are in agreement, implying that the distortions in redshift space due to peculiar velocities are relatively small and – within the relatively large error bars – not significant. The clustering signal is significant up to velocity separations of ∼300 km s−1, corresponding to about 5 h−1 comoving Mpc. Compatibility at the 2σ level has been found both for the autocorrelation and cross-correlation functions and for the set of the cross-correlation coefficients. The analysis focuses in particular on two QSO groups of the sample, the Sextet and the Triplet. Searching for alignments in the redshift space between Lyman α absorption lines belonging to different lines of sight, it has been possible to discover the presence of a wide H i structure extending over about 10 Mpc in comoving space, and give constraints on the sizes of two cosmic underdense regions in the intergalactic medium, which have been detected with a 91 and 86 per cent significance level, respectively, in the Sextet and the Triplet.

Keywords: intergalactic medium; quasars: absorption lines; cosmology: observations; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  7826 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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