Tuesday, July 23, 2013

1307.5562 (G. Chartas et al.)

A Mini X-Ray Survey of Sub-DLAs; Searching for AGNs Formed in Protogalaxies    [PDF]

G. Chartas, V. P. Kulkarni, A. Asper
A significant fraction of the sub-damped Lyman-alpha (sub-DLA) absorption systems in quasar spectra appear to be metal-rich, many with even super-solar element abundances. This raises the question whether some sub-DLAs may harbor active galactic nuclei (AGN) since supersolar metallicities are observed in AGN. Here we investigate this question based on a mini-survey of 21 quasars known to contain sub-DLAs in their spectra. The X-ray observations were performed with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In cases of no detection we estimated upper limits of the X-ray luminosities of possible AGNs at the redshifts of the sub-DLAs. In six cases we find possible X-ray emission within ~ 1 arcsec of the background quasar consistent with the presence of a nearby X-ray source. If these nearby X-ray sources are at the redshifts of the sub-DLAs, their estimated 0.2-10 keV luminosities range between 0.8 x 10^{44}h^{-2} and 4.2 x 10^{44}h^{-2} erg s^{-1}, thus ruling out a normal late-type galaxy origin, and suggesting that the emission originates in a galactic nucleus near the center of a protogalaxy. The projected distances of these possible nearby X-ray sources from the background quasars lie in the range of 3-7 h^{-1} kpc, consistent with our hypothesis that they represent AGNs centered on the sub-DLAs. Deeper follow-up X-ray and optical observations are required to confirm the marginal detections of X-rays from these sub-DLA galaxies.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.5562

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