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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10277/487

Authors: Farina, Emanuele Paolo
Internal Tutor: TREVES, ALDO
Title: Physical and projected pairs of quasars.
Abstract: Quasars are the most luminous type of active galactic nuclei and their study is fundamental to shed light on the high redshift Universe. In this work we take advantage of the rare cases of close projected and physical quasar pairs to detect the presence of the cool enriched gas and of the dark mass that surround quasars. This Thesis consists of two parts. In the first one we present optical spectroscopy of projected quasar pairs (i.e., two quasars that are close in the sky but have discordant redshifts) that represents a powerful tool to investigate the metal absorption lines imprinted on the spectrum of the background quasar by the gaseous halo surrounding the foreground one (Chapter 1). In the last decades, this technique has been extensively used to detect the haloes of non–active galaxies, but to date no systematic study has been performed in the case of quasars. We selected a sample of 46 projected pairs, with separations ranging from ∼ 50 kpc to ∼ 200 kpc, aimed to assess the presence of Mg II and CIV absorptions systems associated to foreground quasars. In Chapter 2 we show the first outcomes of our programme, based on the spectra of 13 pairs partially collected by me at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). These data reveal a high covering fraction for the Mg II absorbers and a non isotropical distribution of the gas. Our results are compared to those of similar works performed on non–active galaxies available in the literature. We propose that the cool gaseous haloes of quasars and of normal galaxies are similar, once the stellar mass of the systems is taken into account. Observations of the remaining 33 pairs are ongoing at the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC). The preparatory analysis of the SDSS spectra of these systems show that a 10m class telescope is mandatory for this kind of studies (Chapter 3). The second part of the Thesis addresses with physical systems of quasars (i.e., two or more quasars that have small projected and redshift separations) that are an expected outcome of the current hierarchical framework of galaxy formation and evolution (Chapter 4). In Chapter 5 we accurately study the dynamics of six low redshift quasar pairs and we found that the dynamical mass required for this systems to be gravitationally bound is larger of than the stellar masses of the host galaxies. This suggests that these pairs are hosted by galaxies with massive dark haloes or that they reside in a group/cluster of galaxies. In Chapter 6, we present our discovery of the second physical quasar triplet known to date. We estimate that these systems are extremely rare in terms of simple accidental superposition of the three quasars, suggesting a possible common origin for their ignition. Finally, conclusions and future perspectives of this study are presented in Chapter 7. The present work principally deals with the analysis and studies presented in Farina et al. (2012b, on the gaseous haloes of quasars), in Farina et al. (2011, on the dynamical study of low redshift quasar pairs), and in Farina et al. (2012c, on the discovery of a new quasar triplet). A complete list of works published during my PhD is provided in Appendix C.
Keywords: Physical projected pairs quasar.
Subject MIUR : FIS/05 ASTRONOMIA E ASTROFISICA
Issue Date: 2012
Language: eng
Doctoral course: Astronomia e Astrofisica
Academic cycle: 25
Publisher: Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
Citation: Farina, E.P.Physical and projected pairs of quasars. (Doctoral Thesis, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, 2012).

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