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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
Heavy Element Enrichment in Early Circumgalactic and Intergalactic Environmnents
Robert Simcoe, MIT-Kavli,

Using the FIRE spectrometer at Magellan, we have gathered deep IR spectra of 40 quasars at z > 5.8 and over 100 at z > 4, providing at last a statistically significant pathlength for studying intervening avy-element absorption systems near the epoch of reionization.  I will discuss the status of these absorption measurements, with particular emphasis on detections at z > 5.5.  These relatively rare absorbers have the potential to place joint bounds on heavy element pollution and the ionizing background radiation field at early times.  I will describe how high resolution optical and IR measurements may be combined to constrain these systems' gas-phase metallicity, even when Gunn-Peterson absorption saturates the HI profiles into an unusuable condition.  I will close with some discussion of future prospects for
this work using instruments for existing telescopes and ELTs.

For more information, please contact Althea E. Keith by phone at 626-395-4973 or by email at [email protected].