NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0441

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0441


PI: Varsha P. Kulkarni, University of South Carolina, kulkarni@sc.edu
Address: Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, 712 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29208, United States

CoI: Debopam Som, University of South Carolina
CoI: Sebastian Lopez, Universidad de Chile
CoI: Sara Ellison, University of Victoria
CoI: Legna Torres, University of South Carolina

Title: Structure of Interstellar Matter in Distant Galaxies

Abstract: Absorption lines in quasar spectra offer a powerful tool to study the chemical composition of galaxies and intergalactic matter (IGM). Gravitationally lensed quasars (GLQs) and binary quasars (BQs) offer a probe of the internal structure of interstellar material (ISM) in galaxies. BQs also offer a tool for studying galaxies and IGM in high- density regions. Unfortunately, very little information exists on the metal and dust content of absorbers located in front of GLQs/BQs. We set out to increase the sample of multiply probed absorber galaxies in a very highly ranked 2008A MMT program, but lost most of the time to bad weather. Here we propose to continue this effort by obtaining spatially resolved high S/N MMT spectra of 2-4 sightlines each through 10 absorbers at 0.3 < z < 1.1. The proposed observations will \bf(1) substantially increase the sightlines separated on small (5-25 kpc) scales; \bf(2) allow measurements of sizes of the lenses and other absorbers; \bf(3) allow study of abundance gradients in the absorbing galaxies, and \bf(4) probe variation of interstellar dust properties. The MMT blue channel spectrograph is essential to obtain the necessary combination of wavelength coverage, S/N, and resolution for detecting the crucial metal lines (Zn, Cr, Fe, Mn, Mg, Ti etc.).


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