Comparisons of Abundances Derived from Quasar Emission and Absorption Lines

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Session 42 -- Metallicity in AGN and the Near-AGN Environment
Oral presentation, 8:30am - 12:30pm, June 14, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[42.05] Comparisons of Abundances Derived from Quasar Emission and Absorption Lines

F.Hamann, E.A.Beaver, E.M.Burbidge, R.D.Cohen, V.Junkkarinen, R.Lyons (CASS/UCSD), T.A.Barlow (Caltech), J.C. Shields (Steward)

Emission and absorption lines formed in quasar environments provide constraints on the heavy element abundances that can test theories of the formation and evolution of the quasar host galaxies. We will outline recent work showing that the abundances are typically solar or higher in quasars, with an emphasis on results derived from the broad emission and narrow associated ($z_a$ $\approx$ $z_e$) absorption lines. Those results argue that quasars reside in the chemically mature cores of massive galaxies. At the highest redshifts ($>$4), the enrichment/stellar reprocessing timescales are less than 1 -2 Gyr (depending on the cosmology). We will also describe ongoing studies designed to (1) quantify better the derived abundances using more extensive and more uniform emission and absorption line data, (2) make direct comparisons between independent emission and absorption line results, and (3) follow up on a trend identified so far in the emission lines that suggests higher metallicities in more luminous objects. The latter trend could be caused by a mass-metallicity relationship among quasar host galaxies that is analogous (or identical) to the well known relationship among nearby elliptical galaxies. Such a relationship could prove vital for studies of the mass spectrum of quasar host galaxies.

This work is supported by NASA grant NAG 5-1630.

8:30a program listing