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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Probing the Intergalactic Medium (IGM) of Space

Quasi-stellar objects, or QSOs, are among the most luminous and distant objects in the Universe. These two characteristics make quasars extremely useful tools for probing the intergalactic medium (IGM) in the far reaches of space. Since the gas of the IGM is not luminous enough to see at great distances, quasars allow us to study the IGM through absorption spectra. As the light from a quasar makes it journey to Earth, it passes through the intervening gas contained in galaxies and primordial gas clouds. This gas leaves its absorption signature in the QSO spectra. Absorption spectra give us insight into the composition of the intervening systems, because each of the natural elements leaves its own distinct signature. In this submission, we present preliminary results of a comparison between 1550 triply ionized carbon (CIV) and 2800 singly ionized magnesium (MgII) absorption systems. Our sample of systems consists of more than 5,600 CIV absorbers and over 14,000 MgII absorbers found in QSO spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Our study covers the wavelength region between 3800 and 9000, and is therefore limited to systems in the redshift interval 1.46 - 2.21, for which both CIV and MgII absorption may be seen.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: David Bell (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Physics
Location: Seymour Union Main Lounge
Time: 1:15 pm Session III