Origin of Weak MgII and Higher Ionization Absorption Lines in an Outflow from an Intermediate-Redshift Dwarf Satellite Galaxy

Akimi Fujita, Toru Misawa, Jane C. Charlton, Avery Meiksin, Mordecai-Mark Mac Low

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Observations at intermediate redshifts reveal the presence of numerous, compact, weak MgII absorbers with near to super-solar metallicities, often surrounded by more extended regions that produce CIV and/or OVI absorption in the circumgalactic medium at large impact parameters from luminous galaxies. Their origin and nature remains unclear. We hypothesize that undetected, satellite dwarf galaxies are responsible for producing some of these weak MgII absorbers. We test our hypothesis using gas dynamical simulations of galactic outflows from a dwarf satellite galaxy with a halo mass of 5×109 M⊙, which could form in a larger L∗ halo at z=2, to study the gas interaction in the halo. We find that thin, filamentary, weak MgII absorbers are produced in two stages: 1) when shocked core collapse supernova (SNII) enriched gas descending in a galactic fountain gets shock compressed by upward flows driven by subsequent SNIIs and cools (phase 1), and later, 2) during an outflow driven by Type Ia supernovae that shocks and sweeps up pervasive SNII enriched gas, which then cools (phase 2). The width of the filaments and fragments are ≲ 100 pc, and the smallest ones cannot be resolved at 12.8 pc resolution. The MgII absorbers in our simulations are continuously generated for >150 Myr by shocks and cooling, though each cloud survives for only ~60 Myr. Their metallicity is 10-20% solar metallicity and column density is <1012 cm−2. They are also surrounded by larger (0.5-1 kpc) CIV absorbers that seem to survive longer. In addition, larger-scale (>1 kpc) CIV and OVI clouds are produced in both expanding and shocked SNII enriched gas which is photoionized by the UV metagalactic radiation at intermediate redshift. Our simulation highlights the possibility of dwarf galactic outflows producing highly enriched multiphase gas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number157
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021


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