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Title: Discovery of a Damped Lyα Absorber Originating in a Spectacular Interacting Dwarf Galaxy Pair at z = 0.026

We present the discovery of neutral gas detected in both damped Lyαabsorption (DLA) and Hi21 cm emission outside of the stellar body of a galaxy, the first such detection in the literature. A joint analysis between the Cosmic Ultraviolet Baryon Survey and the MeerKAT Absorption Line Survey reveals an Hibridge connecting two interacting dwarf galaxies (log (Mstar/M) = 8.5 ± 0.2) that host az= 0.026 DLA with log[N(Hi)/cm−2] = 20.60 ± 0.05 toward the QSO J2339−5523 (zQSO= 1.35). At impact parameters ofd= 6 and 33 kpc, the dwarf galaxies have no companions more luminous than ≈0.05L*within at least Δv= ±300 km s−1andd≈ 350 kpc. The Hi21 cm emission is spatially coincident with the DLA at the 2σ–3σlevel per spectral channel over several adjacent beams. However, Hi21 cm absorption is not detected against the radio-bright QSO; if the background UV and radio sources are spatially aligned, the gas is either warm or clumpy (with a spin temperature to covering factor ratioTs/fc> 1880 K). Observations with VLT-MUSE demonstrate that theα-element abundance of the ionized interstellar medium (ISM) is consistent with the DLA (≈10% solar), suggesting that the neutral gas envelope is perturbed ISM gas. This study showcases the impact of dwarf–dwarf more » interactions on the physical and chemical state of neutral gas outside of star-forming regions. In the SKA era, joint UV and Hi21 cm analyses will be critical for connecting the cosmic neutral gas content to galaxy environments.

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Award ID(s):
1652522 1715692
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. L33
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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