NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0151

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0151


PI: John M. O'Meara, Saint Michael's College, jomeara@smcvt.edu
Address: Chemistry and Physics, One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439, United States

CoI: Jason X. Prochaska, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoI: Michele Fumagali, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoI: J. Christopher Howk, University of Notre Dame
CoI: Nissim Kanekar, NRAO

Title: LRIS Imaging of z > 2.3 Damped Lyman-(alpha) Systems

Abstract: We propose to directly image the star-forming regions of z>2.3 damped Lyman-(alpha) systems (DLAs) using LRIS on Keck. In contrast to previous attempts to measure continuum emission from DLAs, we will use a novel technique that eliminates the glare of the background quasar. Specifically, we will search for FUV emission from one DLA of a pair that lie along a single quasar sightline. The higher redshift DLA serves as a blocking filter (via Lyman limit absorption) which eliminates all FUV emission from the background quasar. We will therefore image directly the FUV flux of the lower redshift DLA and, in turn, estimate its star-formation rate and impact parameter from the QSO sightline. By observing a sample of 20+ sightlines selected primarily from the SDSS database, we will develop the first FUV luminosity function of DLA galaxies and correlate these properties with the ISM characteristics inferred from standard absorption-line analysis. The technique has been shown to be successful in 2 QSO fields obtained in January 2009.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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