New Hubble Space Telescope spectra of QSO PG 1718+4807: No evidence for strong deuterium absorption

Kirkman, D, Tytler D, O'Meara JM, Burles S, Lubin D, Suzuki N, Carswell RF, Turner MS, Wampler EJ.  2001.  New Hubble Space Telescope spectra of QSO PG 1718+4807: No evidence for strong deuterium absorption. Astrophysical Journal. 559:23-28.

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abundance, cosmology : observations, intergalactic medium, lines, quasars : absorption, quasars : individual (PG 1718+4807), ratio, z=0.7


The Z(abs) similar to 0.701 absorption system toward QSO PG 1718 + 4807 is the only example of a QSO absorption system which might have a deuterium/hydrogen ratio approximately 10 times the value found toward other QSOs. We have obtained new Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph spectra from the Hubble Space Telescope of the Ly alpha and Lyman limit regions of the system. These spectra give the redshift and velocity dispersion of the neutral hydrogen, which produces most of the observed absorption. The Ly alpha line is too narrow to account for all of the observed absorption. It was previously known that extra absorption is needed on the blue side of the main H I near the expected position of deuterium. We do not find evidence in the current data that the extra absorption is entirely deuterium and find that it is more likely that some of the extra absorption is contaminating H. Until new data can be found that can independently constrain the line parameters of the potential contaminating H, it will not be possible to measure D/H in this system. Some uncertainty persists because we have a low signal-to-noise ratio and the extra absorption-be it deuterium or hydrogen-is heavily blended with the Ly alpha absorption from the main hydrogen absorption.