Are strong MgII absorbers the signature of outflows?

N. Bouche*, M. T. Murphy, C. Peroux, I. Csabai, V. Wild

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gas, and in particular, cold gas is seen locally in many different locations (disks, halos, merger tails, and even in outflows). Which one is traced by QSO absorption lines, and in particular by the Mg II metal line? Given that QSO absorption lines probe galaxy halos out to 100 kpc and have no bias on the host galaxy luminosity, they are crucial to our understanding of galaxy evolution in general and feedback in particular. Strong Mg II absorbers with equivalent width Wr(2796) > 1 angstrom are in fact made of several (up to 20) sub-components or clouds. As a result, W(r) is a measure of the line-of-sight velocity dispersion (Delta upsilon) of the clouds. Most models for QSO absorbers, except the outflow scenario, predict that the host-galaxy mass and the velocity dispersion Delta upsilon should correlate (by the Virial theorem).

Goal: If one could measure the mass for QSO absorbers, one could test whether mass and Delta upsilon are correlated.

Result: Using a statistical technique that does not require any spectroscopic follow-up, we find that the halo-mass M(h) of the host-galaxy is anti-correlated with the equivalent width W(Delta upsilon). This shows that the Mg II clouds are not virialized in the gaseous halos of the host-galaxies. If Mg II absorbers were virialized in galaxy halos, a positive mass-velocity correlation would have been observed. In addition, the kinematics of super-winds are most consistent with our M(h)-W(r) anti-correlation. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-134
Number of pages4
JournalNew Astronomy Reviews
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007
EventWorkshop on Fate of the Gas in Galaxies - Dwingeloo, Netherlands
Duration: 12 Jul 200614 Jul 2006


  • H-I
  • GAS
  • HALO


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