The Cosmic Ultraviolet Baryon Survey (CUBS). II. Discovery of an H2-bearing DLA in the Vicinity of an Early-type Galaxy at z = 0.576

May 2021 • 2021ApJ...913...18B

Authors • Boettcher, Erin • Chen, Hsiao-Wen • Zahedy, Fakhri S. • Cooper, Thomas J. • Johnson, Sean D. • Rudie, Gwen C. • Chen, Mandy C. • Petitjean, Patrick • Cantalupo, Sebastiano • Cooksey, Kathy L. • Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André • Greene, Jenny E. • Lopez, Sebastian • Mulchaey, John S. • Penton, Steven V. • Putman, Mary E. • Rafelski, Marc • Rauch, Michael • Schaye, Joop • Simcoe, Robert A. • Walth, Gregory L.

Abstract • We report the serendipitous detection of an H2-bearing damped Lyα absorber at z = 0.576 in the spectrum of the QSO J0111-0316 in the Cosmic Ultraviolet Baryon Survey. Spectroscopic observations from Hubble Space Telescope-COS in the far-ultraviolet reveal a damped absorber with log[N(H I)/cm-2] = 20.1 ± 0.2 and log[N(H2)/cm-2] $={18.97}_{-0.06}^{+0.05}$ . The diffuse molecular gas is found in two velocity components separated by Δ ν ≈ 60 km s-1, with >99.9% of the total H2 column density concentrated in one component. At a metallicity of ≈50% of solar, there is evidence for Fe enhancement and dust depletion, with a dust-to-gas ratio κO ≈ 0.4. A galaxy redshift survey conducted with IMACS and LDSS-3C on Magellan reveals an overdensity of nine galaxies at projected distance d ≤ 600 proper kpc (pkpc) and line-of-sight velocity offset Δ νg ≤ 300 km s-1 from the absorber. The closest is a massive, early-type galaxy at d = 41 pkpc that contains ≈70% of the total stellar mass identified at d ≤ 310 pkpc of the H2 absorber. The close proximity of the H2-bearing gas to the quiescent galaxy and the Fe-enhanced chemical abundance pattern of the absorber suggest a physical connection, in contrast to a picture in which DLAs are primarily associated with gas-rich dwarfs. This case study illustrates that deep galaxy redshift surveys are needed to gain insight into the diverse environments that host dense and potentially star-forming gas. * Based on data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.


IPAC Authors


Greg Walth

Assistant Scientist