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Title: OUTFLOW VERSUS INFALL IN SPIRAL GALAXIES: METAL ABSORPTION IN THE HALO OF NGC 891

Gas accreting onto a galaxy will be of low metallicity while halo gas due to a galactic fountain will be of near-solar metallicity. We test these predictions by measuring the metal absorption line properties of halo gas 5 kpc above the plane of the edge-on galaxy NGC 891, using observations taken with HST/STIS toward a bright background quasar. Metal absorption lines of Fe II, Mg II, and Mg I in the halo of NGC 891 are clearly seen, and when combined with recent deep H I observations, we are able to place constraints on the metallicity of the halo gas for the first time. The H I line width defines the line broadening, from which we model opacity effects in these metal lines, assuming that the absorbing gas is continuously distributed in the halo. The gas-phase metallicities are [Fe/H] = -1.18 {+-} 0.07 and [Mg/H] = -0.23 + 0.36/ - 0.27 (statistical errors) and this difference is probably due to differential depletion onto grains. When corrected for such depletion using Galactic gas as a guide, both elements have approximately solar or even supersolar abundances. This suggests that the gas is from the galaxy disk, probably expelled into the halo bymore » a galactic fountain, rather than from accretion of intergalactic gas, which would have a low metallicity. The abundances would be raised by significant amounts if the absorbing gas lies in a few clouds with thermal widths smaller than the rotational velocity of the halo. If this is the case, both the abundances and [Mg/Fe] would be supersolar.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (United States)
  2. Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22167537
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 766; 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; COSMIC GASES; GALAXIES; LIMITING VALUES; LINE BROADENING; LINE WIDTHS; METALS; OPACITY; QUASARS