A dataset provided by the European Space Agency

Name OT2_vkulkarn_3
Title Star Formation and Molecular Gas in Distant Galaxies: SPIRE Spectroscopy of Quasar Absorption Systems


DOI https://doi.org/10.5270/esa-g9i2d6p
Author European Space Agency
Description Absorption line systems in quasar spectra, especially the damped Lyman alpha (DLA) and sub-DLA absorbers, provide excellent venues for directly studying the interstellar medium (ISM) in distant galaxies, selected independently of the galaxy luminosities. DLAs/sub-DLAs provide most of the neutral gas reservoir for star formation at high redshifts. A few especially cold, dusty absorbers have been discovered using radio surveys and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These absorbers, far richer in dust/molecules than the general absorber population, give us rare opportunities to probe molecular gas and star formation at high redshift. Unfortunately, very few sub-mm observations exist for these unique quasar absorbers. Here we propose SPIRE spectroscopy of 5 quasars with strong absorbers that appear to have cold/dusty gas. The proposed data will efficiently cover a wide spectral range that is expected to be rich in transitions of many atomic and molecular species (e.g., C I, N II, CH+, CO, 13CO, C18O, H2O) at the absorber redshifts. These transitions will allow us to estimate molecular abundances, and physical conditions of the absorber gas such as temperature and density. Comparisons of these distant absorbers with Milky Way ISM will provide a step toward understanding how ISM evolves with time. The molecular lines will also give constraints on isotopic ratios such as 12CO/13CO, and the cosmic microwave background temperature at the absorber redshifts. Our data will also cover the redshifted [C II] 158 micron emission line, which can help to constrain the star formation rate in the absorber galaxies. The proposed data will thus provide several fresh insights into the stellar and interstellar content of distant galaxies, and pave the way for future ALMA observations. Additionally, the data will provide important constraints on the continuum SEDs of the background quasars. Herschel SPIRE is the only current instrument that can... offer the wavelength coverage needed to efficiently observe the lines of interest.
Instrument SPIRE_SpireSpectrometer_, SPIRE_SpirePhoto_small
Temporal Coverage 2012-03-03T22:30:36Z/2013-01-13T18:28:51Z
Version SPG v14.1.0
Mission Description Herschel was launched on 14 May 2009! It is the fourth 'cornerstone' mission in the ESA science programme. With a 3.5 m Cassegrain telescope it is the largest space telescope ever launched. It is performing photometry and spectroscopy in approximately the 55-671 µm range, bridging the gap between earlier infrared space missions and groundbased facilities.
Creator Contact https://support.cosmos.esa.int/h®erschel/
Date Published 2013-07-13T12:46:59Z
Publisher And Registrant European Space Agency
Credit Guidelines European Space Agency, 2013, Star Formation And Molecular Gas In Distant Galaxies: Spire Spectroscopy Of Quasar Absorption Systems, SPG v14.1.0, European Space Agency, https://doi.org/10.5270/esa-g9i2d6p