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Session 83 - Galaxy Evolution/Interaction.
Oral session, Wednesday, January 15
Absorption profiles of the Mg II \lambda\lambda 2796,2803 doublet arising from gas associated with 48 ``normal'' intermediate redshift (0.4 < z < 1.7) galaxies have been resolved in QSO spectra at 6 km s^-1 resolution using HIRES on Keck I.
We have found evidence for pronounced redshift evolution in the subcomponent velocity two--point correlation function, suggestive that the gas surrounding galaxies has settled over a 5--10 Gyr look--back time. Based upon a sub--sample of 15 galaxies at z<1, we found no evidence for correlations between the absorbing gas kinematics and the projected galactocentric distance of the gas, galaxy luminosities, or galaxy rest--frame colors (though trends between galaxy properties and absorption properties are apparent from a larger low resolution absorption line sample). The implication is that low ionization gas surrounding early epoch galaxies was not smoothly distributed either spatially or kinematically out to a galactocentric distance \sim 40 kpc.
Directly from the profiles, we have measured the number of separate absorbing ``kinematic subsystems'' associated with each galaxy, and each subsystem's profile velocity width, asymmetry (skew), and integrated column density. The distribution in these subsystem properties with velocity is highly peaked at zero, and does not exhibit a bimodality. The lack of a bimodality is suggestive that the gas kinematics is not\/ dominated by quasi--symmetric infall into galactic potential wells.
In view of absorption line studies of local galaxies, it appears that extended regions of low ionization gas surrounding galaxies represent a dynamical and active epoch of ``normal'' galaxy evolution. The reservoirs of gas for these extended ``halos'' were probably residual infalling fragments (from earlier formation processes and on--going dynamical events) whose evolution first included a settling in velocity dispersion and then more recently a decline in number. The build up of thick and/or extended gaseous disks (in the case of spirals) may be one manifestation of this process.
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