The COS-Dwarfs Survey: The Carbon Reservoir around Sub-L* Galaxies*

Rongmon Bordoloi, Jason Tumlinson, Jessica K. Werk, Benjamin D. Oppenheimer, Molly S. Peeples, J. Xavier Prochaska, Todd M. Tripp, Neal Katz, Romeel Davé, Andrew J. Fox, Christopher Thom, Amanda Brady Ford, David H. Weinberg, Joseph N. Burchett, Juna A. Kollmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We report new observations of circumgalactic gas from the COS-Dwarfs survey, a systematic investigation of the gaseous halos around 43 low-mass z ≤ 0.1 galaxies using background QSOs observed with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. From the projected one-dimensional and two-dimensional distribution of C IV absorption, we find that C IV is detected out to ≈100 kpc (corresponding roughly to ≈0.5 R vir) of the host galaxies. The C IV absorption strength falls off radially as a power law, and beyond ≈0.5 R vir, no C IV absorption is detected above our sensitivity limit of ≈50-100 mÅ. We find a tentative correlation between detected C IV absorption strength and star formation, paralleling the strong correlation seen in highly ionized oxygen for L ~ L* galaxies by the COS-Halos survey. The data imply a large carbon reservoir in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) of these galaxies, corresponding to a minimum carbon mass of gsim 1.2 × 106 M out to ~110 kpc. This mass is comparable to the carbon mass in the interstellar medium and exceeds the carbon mass currently in the stars of these galaxies. The C IV absorption seen around these sub-L* galaxies can account for almost two-thirds of all Wr ≥ 100 mÅ C IV absorption detected at low z. Comparing the C IV covering fraction with hydrodynamical simulations, we find that an energy-driven wind model is consistent with the observations whereas a wind model of constant velocity fails to reproduce the CGM or the galaxy properties.
* Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program GO12248.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: halos
  • intergalactic medium
  • quasars: absorption lines


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