Studies of the broad emission-line regions (BLRs) in quasars have revealed solar or higher enrichment levels up to the highest redshifts. In combination with the presence of large amounts of dust in QSOs at z~ 6, this implies that substantial amounts of star formation and nucleosynthesis took place at significantly earlier epochs. Here, we examine whether a top-heavy stellar initial mass function (IMF) is indicated by current data, by modelling the contributions from different regions of the IMF, including Type Ia/II and pair instability supernovae, to the metal synthesis in BLRs. We find that, in order to reproduce the observations of roughly solar values of N/C and Fe/Mg in these objects, (i) stars with a present-day IMF are sufficient, regardless of their metallicity, (ii) zero-metallicity stars with a top-heavy IMF severely underproduce N/C, and (iii) the contribution of Type Ia SNe is not strongly required by the data. Therefore, stars of mass ~1-40 Msolar must have existed at z~ 10-20, possibly coeval with any hypothesized stars of masses >~ 100 Msolar at these epochs. This is in agreement with the nucleosynthetic abundance pattern detected in extremely metal-poor stars in the galactic halo.

Early enrichment of quasars by the first stars

FERRARA, ANDREA
2004

Abstract

Studies of the broad emission-line regions (BLRs) in quasars have revealed solar or higher enrichment levels up to the highest redshifts. In combination with the presence of large amounts of dust in QSOs at z~ 6, this implies that substantial amounts of star formation and nucleosynthesis took place at significantly earlier epochs. Here, we examine whether a top-heavy stellar initial mass function (IMF) is indicated by current data, by modelling the contributions from different regions of the IMF, including Type Ia/II and pair instability supernovae, to the metal synthesis in BLRs. We find that, in order to reproduce the observations of roughly solar values of N/C and Fe/Mg in these objects, (i) stars with a present-day IMF are sufficient, regardless of their metallicity, (ii) zero-metallicity stars with a top-heavy IMF severely underproduce N/C, and (iii) the contribution of Type Ia SNe is not strongly required by the data. Therefore, stars of mass ~1-40 Msolar must have existed at z~ 10-20, possibly coeval with any hypothesized stars of masses >~ 100 Msolar at these epochs. This is in agreement with the nucleosynthetic abundance pattern detected in extremely metal-poor stars in the galactic halo.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11384/5843
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