Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/postcard/?comic=1346
Quoted from an email originally sent to: David Morgan-Mar
The author writes:
The graph shows the distribution of Lyman alpha absorption lines in the spectrum of the quasar Q1101-264, normalised to the continuum emission spectrum, from 150 to 400 nanometres, at a resolution of 0.04 nanometres, FWHM. The unprecedented clarity of the spectrum is thanks to the combination of dozens of nights of observing at multiple telescopes around the world. Several heavy element systems are shown, at the indicated redshifts. The ionisation energies as measured from the line breadths are consistent with conditions in extended galactic haloes, supporting the hypothesis of radiation equilibrium with a heavily ionised intergalactic medium at cosmological redshifts corresponding to 8 to 11 billion years before the present.
The distribution of the heavy element systems is unusual at this redshift, but does not deviate from the standard clustering model at a statistically significant level.