The Ly&alpha forest measured in the spectrum of a high redshift Quasi-Stellar Object

QSO spectrum

The spectrum of the QSO Q1159+123 (zem = 3.5) measured using the high-resolution spectrograph of the Keck 10m telescope, with a resolution of &lambda/&Delta&lambda = 37000 and a signal-to-noise ratio of 85 per resolution element. The most prominent feature is the broad Ly&alpha 1215 emission line near 5500A, blended with NV 1240 emission at 5600A. The Ly&alpha forest is clearly visible on the blue side of the Ly&alpha emission line. The absorption features on the red side are predominantly CIV doublet lines arising from intervening intergalactic systems containing metals. The rapid decline in flux near 4100A is due to an intervening Lyman Limit System, which absorbs virtually all photons with energies above the Lyman photoelectric edge (the ionisation potential of hydrogen). (From Songaila A., 1998, AJ, 115, 2184.)

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