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Title:The Origins and Environments of Quasar Absorption Lines in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Author(s):Lundgren, Britt Fisher
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brunner, Robert J.
Department / Program:Astronomy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Physics, Astrophysics
Abstract:Owing to the advent of large spectroscopic surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), tens of thousands of quasar absorption line (QAL) systems have been identified to date. QAL catalogs currently extend to z ∼ 4.6 and provide unique probes of the large scale structure of baryonic matter in the high-redshift universe; yet many critical questions regarding the origins and environments of QALs still remain. Absorption along the line of sight to quasars is believed to probe a wide variety of physical processes, including relativistic quasar outflows, star-forming regions in galactic disks, and virialized gas in extended galaxy haloes. Although progress has been made in observationally differentiating the physical phenomena producing absorption in individual systems, high-resolution spectroscopy has generally been required for such work, and such observations are expensive to obtain in large quantities. Only recently has the vast dataset of the SDSS provided the means to disentangle some observational degeneracies in quasar absorption line studies statistically.
This thesis presents a statistical investigation of the properties and environments of QALs observed in the SDSS. The analysis consists of five parts: an examination of time-variability of absorbers intrinsic to quasar outflows, a description of a proprietary multi-ion QAL catalog extracted from SDSS spectra, and three analyses using data from this new catalog. These analyses include: (1) an examination of the large-scale clustering, and thereby the typical dark matter halo masses, of unambiguously intervening Mg II absorbers, (2) an investigation into the typical dark matter halo masses of Mg II QALs associated with quasar environments and the influence of associated absorbers on quasar dark matter halo mass, and (3) an examination of the galactic hosts of strong Mg II QALs at low-redshift, using a new large catalog of Ca II QALs at z < 0.3.
Issue Date:2009
Description:170 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI3392202
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:2009

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