AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 87. QSO Absorption Line Systems
Display, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 9:20am-4:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[87.01] Staring Hard at a z ~2 Damped Lyman-alpha Absorber with NICMOS

V.P. Kulkarni, J.M. Hill (U. Arizona), R.J. Weymann, L.J. Storrie-Lombardi (Carnegie Obs.), G. Schneider, M.J. Rieke, R.I. Thompson (U. Arizona), B. Jannuzi (NOAO)

We report results from deep NICMOS imaging of the field of a damped Lyman-alpha (DLA) quasar absorber at z=1.89. This is one of the three high-z DLA fields that we have observed with NICMOS as part of our GTO observing programs. The images were obtained in the broad filter F160W and the narrow filter F190N with camera 2 on NICMOS, with the goal of detecting the rest-frame optical continuum and H-\alpha line emission from the DLA absorber. Some of the broad-band images were obtained with the NICMOS coronagraph. We describe the reduction of the images and subtraction of the quasar point spread function. The resultant broad-band images put sensitive constraints on the size of the DLA absorber, while the narrow-band images put tight limits on the star formation rate in the absorber. These results have important implications for the physical nature of DLA galaxies and for their dust content. Finally, our images also offer very sensitive constraints on the properties of the quasar host galaxy.

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