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Title: INTERSTELLAR SILICATE DUST IN THE z = 0.89 ABSORBER TOWARD PKS 1830-211: CRYSTALLINE SILICATES AT HIGH REDSHIFT?

We present evidence of a >10{sigma} detection of the 10 {mu}m silicate dust absorption feature in the spectrum of the gravitationally lensed quasar PKS 1830-211, produced by a foreground absorption system at redshift 0.886. We have examined more than 100 optical depth templates, derived from both observations of Galactic and extragalactic sources and laboratory measurements, in order to constrain the chemical structure of the silicate dust. We find that the best fit to the observed absorption profile is produced by laboratory crystalline olivine, with a corresponding peak optical depth of {tau}{sub 10} = 0.27 {+-} 0.05. The fit is slightly improved upon by including small contributions from additional materials, such as silica, enstatite, or serpentine, which suggests that the dust composition may consist of a blend of crystalline silicates. Combining templates for amorphous and crystalline silicates, we find that the fraction of crystalline silicates needs to be at least 95%. Given the rarity of extragalactic sources with such a high degree of silicate crystallinity, we also explore the possibility that the observed spectral features are produced by amorphous silicates in combination with other molecular or atomic transitions, or by foreground source contamination. While we cannot rule out these latter possibilities,more » they lead to much poorer profile fits than for the crystalline olivine templates. If the presence of crystalline interstellar silicates in this distant galaxy is real, it would be highly unusual, given that the Milky Way interstellar matter contains essentially only amorphous silicates. It is possible that the z = 0.886 absorber toward PKS 1830-211, well known for its high molecular content, has a unique star-forming environment that enables crystalline silicates to form and prevail.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of South Carolina, 712 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29208 (United States)
  2. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 5640 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)
  3. Osservatorio Astonomico di Trieste, Via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22016195
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 748; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; ASTROPHYSICS; DUSTS; ENSTATITE; INTERSTELLAR GRAINS; MILKY WAY; OLIVINE; QUASARS; RED SHIFT; SERPENTINE; SILICA; SILICATES; STARS