Physical conditions of five O VI absorption systems towards PG 1522+101

Sriram Sankar, Anand Narayanan, Blair D. Savage, Vikram Khaire, Benjamin E. Rosenwasser, Jane Charlton, Bart P. Wakker

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We present the analysis of five O VI absorbers identified across a redshift path of z ∼ (0.6−1.3) towards the background quasar PG 1522+101 with information on five consecutive ionization stages of oxygen from O II to O VI. The combined HST and Keck spectra cover UV, redshifted extreme-UV, and optical transitions from a multitude of ions spanning ionization energies in the range of ∼(13−300) eV. Low-ionization (C II, O II, Si II, Mg II) and very high-ionization species (Ne VIII, MgX) are non-detections in all the absorbers. Three of the absorbers have coverage of He I, in one of which it is a >3σ detection. The kinematic structures of these absorbers are extracted from C IV detected in HIRES spectra. The farthest absorber in our sample also contains the detections of Ne V and Ne VI. Assuming co-spatial absorbing components, the ionization models show the medium to be multiphased with small-scale density-temperature inhomogeneities that are sometimes kinematically unresolved. In two of the absorbers, there is an explicit indication of the presence of a warm gas phase (T 105 K) traced by O VI. In the remaining absorbers, the column densities of the ions are consistent with a non-uniform photoionized medium. The subsolar [C/O] relative abundances inferred for the absorbers point at enrichment from massive Type II supernovae. Despite metal enrichment, the inferred wide range for [O/H] ∼ [−2.1, +0.2] amongst the absorbers along with their anticorrelation with the observed H I suggest poor small-scale mixing of metals with hydrogen in the regions surrounding galaxies and the IGM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4864-4886
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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