AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 79. Intergalactic Material: Its Structure and Composition
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[79.02] A Search for the Barkana-Loeb Effect in the Spectra of High-Redshift Quasars: Probing the Quasar Formation Era?

M. Bogosavljevic, S.G. Djorgovski (Caltech), S.M. Castro (Caltech/IPAC), A.A. Mahabal (Caltech), P. Lopes (Caltech / ON Brasil)

Massive host galaxies of the first luminous quasars should be still undergoing a considerable cosmological infall of the neutral IGM. This process may be observable as a distinct spectroscopic signature in the blue wing of their Ly\alpha line, as predicted by Barkana & Loeb (2002). We report on a search for such and effect and its possible redshift evolution in a sample of high-S/N, moderate-resolution spectra of ~80 QSOs in the redshift range z ~3.8 - 6.28, obtained using the ESI instrument at the WMKO Keck-II telescope. While associated Ly\alpha absorption features are common, their physical interpretation is not yet clear. A key observational uncertainty is the determination of the systemic redshift for the QSOs. We will present a detailed analysis of this sample, and the possible interpretations in the context of Barkana-Loeb model and a general picture of early QSO and massive galaxy formation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.