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Title: QUASARS PROBING QUASARS. VI. EXCESS H I ABSORPTION WITHIN ONE PROPER Mpc OF z ∼ 2 QUASARS

With close pairs of quasars at different redshifts, a background quasar sightline can be used to study a foreground quasar's environment in absorption. We use a sample of 650 projected quasar pairs to study the H I Lyα absorption transverse to luminous, z ∼ 2 quasars at proper separations of 30 kpc < R < 1 Mpc. In contrast to measurements along the line-of-sight, regions transverse to quasars exhibit enhanced H I Lyα absorption and a larger variance than the ambient intergalactic medium, with increasing absorption and variance toward smaller scales. Analysis of composite spectra reveals excess absorption characterized by a Lyα equivalent width profile W = 2.3 Å (R /100 kpc){sup –0.46}. We also observe a high (≅ 60%) covering factor of strong, optically thick H I absorbers (H I column N{sub H{sub I}}>10{sup 17.3} cm{sup -2}) at separations R < 200 kpc, which decreases to ∼20% at R ≅ 1 Mpc, but still represents a significant excess over the cosmic average. This excess of optically thick absorption can be described by a quasar-absorber cross-correlation function ξ{sub QA}(r) = (r/r{sub 0}){sup γ} with a large correlation length r{sub 0} = 12.5{sup +2.7}{sub -1.4} h{sup -1} Mpc (comoving) and γ=1.68{supmore » +0.14}{sub -0.30}. The H I absorption measured around quasars exceeds that of any previously studied population, consistent with quasars being hosted by massive dark matter halos M{sub halo} ≈ 10{sup 12.5} M{sub ☉} at z ∼ 2.5. The environments of these massive halos are highly biased toward producing optically thick gas, and may even dominate the cosmic abundance of Lyman limit systems and hence the intergalactic opacity to ionizing photons at z ∼ 2.5. The anisotropic absorption around quasars implies the transverse direction is much less likely to be illuminated by ionizing radiation than the line-of-sight.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  2. Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69115 Heidelberg (Germany)
  3. Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540 (United States)
  4. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  5. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, Finnerty Road, Victoria, British Columbia V8P 1A1 (Canada)
  6. Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 (United States)
  7. MIT-Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270820
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 776; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION SPECTRA; ANISOTROPY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; CORRELATION FUNCTIONS; CORRELATIONS; GALAXIES; HYDROGEN 1; LYMAN LINES; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; OPACITY; PHOTONS; PROBES; QUASARS; RED SHIFT