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For refcode 2002ApJ...565..720P:
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2002ApJ...565..720P The Local Ly{alpha} Forest. III. Relationship between Ly{alpha} Absorbers and Galaxies, Voids, and Superclusters Steven V. Penton, John T. Stocke, and J. Michael Shull Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309; spenton@casa.colorado.edu, stocke@casa.colorado.edu, mshull@casa.colorado.edu Received 2001 May 31; accepted 2001 October 3 ABSTRACT In this paper we use large-angle, nearby galaxy redshift surveys to investigate the relationship between the 81 low-redshift Ly{alpha} absorbers in our Hubble Space Telescope GHRS survey and galaxies, superclusters, and voids. In a subsample of 46 Ly{alpha} absorbers located in regions where the 2000 February 8 CfA catalog is complete down to at least L* galaxies, the nearest galaxy neighbors range from 100 h_70_^-1^ kpc to greater than 10 h_70_^-1^ Mpc. Of these 46 absorbers, eight are found in galaxy voids. After correcting for path length and sensitivity, we find that 22% +/- 8% of the Ly{alpha} absorbers lie in voids, which requires that at least some low column density absorbers are not extended halos of individual bright galaxies. The number density of these clouds yields a baryon fraction of 4.5% +/- 1.5% in voids. The stronger Ly{alpha} absorbers (10^13.2^-10^15.4^ cm^-2^) cluster with galaxies more weakly than galaxies cluster with each other, while the weaker absorbers (10^12.4^-10^13.2^ cm^-2^) are more randomly distributed. The median distance from a low-z Ly{alpha} absorber in our sample to its nearest galaxy neighbor (~500 h_70_^-1^ kpc) is twice the median distance between bright galaxies in the same survey volume. This makes any purported "association" between these Ly{alpha} absorbers and individual galaxies problematic. The suggested correlation between Ly{alpha} absorber equivalent width (W) and nearest galaxy impact parameter does not extend to W <= 200 mA or to impact parameters greater than 200 h_70_^-1^ kpc. Instead, we find statistical support for the contention that absorbers align with large-scale filaments of galaxies. The pair of sight lines, 3C 273 and Q1230+0115, separated by 0.9^deg^ on the sky, provides an example of eight absorbers and seven galaxies aligned along a possible filamentary structure at least 20 h_70_^-1^ Mpc long. While some strong (W > 400 mA) Ly{alpha} absorbers may be gas in the extended gaseous halos of individual galaxies, much of the local Ly{alpha} "forest" appears to be associated with the large-scale structures of galaxies and some with voids. Subject headings: galaxies: halos - intergalactic medium - quasars: absorption lines - ultraviolet: galaxies
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