A ~6 Mpc overdensity at z ≃ 2.7 detected along a pair of quasar sight lines: filament or protocluster?⋆
1 Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS-UPMC, UMR7095, 98bis bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G. B. Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
Received: 8 April 2014
Accepted: 13 August 2014
Simulations predict that gas in the intergalactic medium (IGM) is distributed in filamentary structures that connect dense galaxy clusters and form the cosmic web. These structures of predominantly ionized hydrogen are difficult to observe directly due to their lack of emitting regions. We serendipitously detected an overdensity of log N(H i) > 18.0 absorbers at z ≃ 2.69 along the lines of sight toward a pair of background quasars. Three main absorption regions spanning ~ 2000 km s-1 (corresponding to 6.4 h70-1 Mpc proper) are coincident in the two lines of sight, which are separated by ~ 90 h70-1 kpc transverse proper distance. Two regions have [Fe/H] <−1.9 and correspond to mild overdensities in the IGM gas. The third region is a sub-DLA with [Fe/H] = −1.1 that is probably associated with a galaxy. We discuss the possibility that the lines of sight probe along the length of a filament or intercept a galaxy protocluster.
Key words: quasars: absorption lines / intergalactic medium / large-scale structure of Universe
© ESO, 2014