High-redshift superwinds as the source of the strongest Mg II absorbers: A feasibility analysis

Nicholas A. Bond, Christopher W. Churchill, Jane C. Charlton, Steven S. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


We present High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer/Keck profiles of four extremely strong (Wr > 1.8 Å) Mg II absorbers at 1 < z < 2. The profiles display a common kinematic structure, having a sharp drop in optical depth near the center of the profile and strong, black-bottomed absorption on either side. This "symmetric-inverted" structure, with a velocity spread of several hundred kilometers per second, is suggestive of superwinds arising in actively star-forming galaxies. Low-ionization absorption of similar strength has been observed in local star-forming galaxies. The Mg II absorbers with Wr > 1.8 Å evolve away from z = 2 to the present. We propose that a substantial fraction of these very strong absorbers are due to superwinds and that their evolution is related to the redshift evolution of star-forming galaxies. Based on the observed redshift number density of Wr > 1.8 Å Mg n absorbers at 1 < z < 2, we explore whether it is realistic that superwinds from starbursting galaxies could give rise to these absorbers. Finally, we do an analysis of the superwind connection to damped Lyα absorbers (DLAs). DLAs and superwinds evolve differently and usually have different kinematic structure, indicating that superwinds probably do not give rise to the majority of DLAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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