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Title: Tracing the cosmic metal evolution in the low-redshift intergalactic medium

Using the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, we measured the abundances of six ions (C III, C IV, Si III, Si IV, N V, and O VI) in the low-redshift (z ≤ 0.4) intergalactic medium (IGM). Both C IV and Si IV have increased in abundance by a factor of ∼10 from z ≈ 5.5 to the present. We derive ion mass densities, ρ{sub ion} ≡ Ω{sub ion}ρ{sub cr}, with Ω{sub ion} expressed relative to the closure density. Our models of mass-abundance ratios, (Si III/Si IV) =0.67{sub −0.19}{sup +0.35}, (C III/C IV) =0.70{sub −0.20}{sup +0.43}, and (Ω{sub C} {sub III}+Ω{sub C} {sub IV})/(Ω{sub Si} {sub III}+Ω{sub Si} {sub IV})=4.9{sub −1.1}{sup +2.2}, are consistent with the photoionization parameter log U = –1.5 ± 0.4, hydrogen photoionization rate Γ{sub H} = (8 ± 2) × 10{sup –14} s{sup –1} at z < 0.4, and specific intensity I {sub 0} = (3 ± 1) × 10{sup –23} erg cm{sup –2} s{sup –1} Hz{sup –1} sr{sup –1} at the Lyman limit. Consistent ionization corrections for C and Si are scaled to an ionizing photon flux Φ{sub 0} = 10{sup 4} cm{sup –2} s{sup –1}, baryon overdensity Δ {sub b} ≈ 200more » ± 50, and ''alpha-enhancement'' (Si/C enhanced to three times its solar ratio). We compare these metal abundances to the expected IGM enrichment and abundances in higher photoionized states of carbon (C V) and silicon (Si V, Si VI, and Si VII). Our ionization modeling infers IGM metal densities of (5.4 ± 0.5) × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉} Mpc{sup –3} in the photoionized Lyα forest traced by the C and Si ions and (9.1 ± 0.6) × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉} Mpc{sup –3} in hotter gas traced by O VI. Combining both phases, the heavy elements in the IGM have mass density ρ {sub Z} = (1.5 ± 0.8) × 10{sup 6} M {sub ☉} Mpc{sup –3} or Ω {sub Z} ≈ 10{sup –5}. This represents 10% ± 5% of the metals produced by (6 ± 2) × 10{sup 8} M {sub ☉} Mpc{sup –3} of integrated star formation with yield y{sub m} = 0.025 ± 0.010. The missing metals at low redshift may reside within galaxies and in undetected ionized gas in galactic halos and circumgalactic medium.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2]
  1. Also at Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 OHA, UK. (United Kingdom)
  2. CASA, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22369994
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; 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; CARBON; DENSITY; ELEMENT ABUNDANCE; ENRICHMENT; GALAXIES; INTERGALACTIC SPACE; IONS; MASS; METALS; PHOTOIONIZATION; QUASARS; RED SHIFT; SILICON; SIMULATION; SPACE; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION