NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2005A-0263

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Proposal Information for 2005A-0263


PI: Sandhya Rao, University of Pittsburgh, rao@everest.phyast.pitt.edu
Address: Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, 3941 O'Hara Street, 100 Allen Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

CoI: Michele Belfort-Mihalyi, University of Pittsburgh
CoI: David A. Turnshek, University of Pittsburgh
CoI: Eric Monier, SUNY-Brockport
CoI: Daniel B. Nestor, University of Florida

Title: Deep Imaging of Galaxies in SDSS QSO Fields with High N(HI) Intervening Absorbers

Abstract: We propose to obtain optical images of fields which contain strong intervening MgII-FeII absorption-line systems at redshifts 0.1<z<1.0 along QSO sightlines. Statistically, 37% of these are likely to be damped Ly(alpha) (DLA) systems with N(HI)\ge 2\times10^20 atoms cm^-2 while the rest are mainly sub-DLAs with 10^19<N(HI)<2\times10^20 atoms cm^-2. \it HST-UV spectra of the QSOs have been used to accurately determine N(HI). Low-redshift DLA galaxies generally have small impact parameters, and are predominantly faint and of low surface brightness (Rao et al. 2003). With WIYN tip-tilt we can identify both faint and small-impact-parameter galaxies. Since most of the fields are from the SDSS, we will generally use an SDSS filter set (u', g', r', i') so that we can calibrate the data by taking advantage of the high-precision (but less deep) SDSS photometry. Two hour exposures in r' for z_abs<0.6 or in i' for z_abs>0.6 will allow us to study <0.1L^* galaxies and obtain morphological information. Images in the three remaining filters will be obtained with the 2.1m telescope to derive composite galaxy colors. In combination with our IRTF infrared images, we will use photometric redshift techniques to isolate the absorbing galaxies and investigate their stellar populations and star formation histories. This will enable a comprehensive study of how the galaxy population is related to the bulk of the neutral gas in the universe. We are making good progress on our DLA galaxy imaging program. With the 2.1m time awarded in 2004B, we acquired ~26% of the needed data. The WIYN component is scheduled for January 2005. The current proposal is a request for Spring observing time.


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