PI: Hsiao-Wen Chen, Carnegie Observatories, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 813 Santa Barbara St., Pasadena, CA 91101, USA
CoI: Jason Prochaska, Carnegie
CoI: Kenneth Lanzetta, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Title: Multi-Color Imaging of Damped Ly(alpha) Absorbing Galaxies at z<1.6
Abstract: We propose to continue the survey of damped \lya absorbing galaxies using broad-band photometric techniques. Damped \lya absorption systems are believed to arise in disk galaxies or their progenitors. But identifications of damped \lya absorbing galaxies based on spectrocopy alone have been extremely difficult, because these galaxies are faint and at small impact parameters to bright QSOs. However, recent studies show that galaxies can be reliably identified by means of photometric redshift techniques. We have initiated an exhaustive survey of galaxies that give rise to low-redshift damped \lya absorption systems at Las Campanas using deep multi-color imaging of QSO fields with known damped \lya absorption systems. The objective is to obtain \em photometric-rather than spectroscopic-redshifts for all galaxies in the fields surrounding QSOs. Here we request to use the WIYN telescope to obtain deep optical images of four QSO fields and to use the 4 m telescope to obtain deep near-infrared images of these fields. The goal of this project is to secure a sample of galaxies for spectroscopic follow-up to study in detail the morphology, luminosity, impact geometry, and chemical abundance of damped \lya absorbing galaxies. The galaxy sample selected based on \hI absorption will also provide us with an unique opportunity to study galaxy evolution over a large cosmic time interval.
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