Probing quasar sight lines in three dimensions


Strong damped Lyman alpha absorption (DLA) lines seen spectra of distant quasar are believed to arise when the sight line to the quasar goes trough the disc of a galaxy or a proto galaxy. Most of the neutral matter in the universe is contained in these clouds of neutral hydrogen that cause the absorption lines. Hence these DLAs are reservoirs for the formation of stars and galaxies throughout the universe. Despite intensive efforts over more than two decades only few galaxies responsible for the DLAs have been found. The problem is that the galaxies that harbour the neutral clouds are not necessarily bright, and selecting galaxies based on absorption lines could well select different types of galaxies than found in large surveys. If we are to understand how galaxies form out of neutral gas clouds it is essential to locate the galaxies in which DLAs reside ...
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