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      Metallicity in Quasar Broad-line Regions at Redshift ∼ 6

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          Abstract

          Broad-line regions (BLRs) in high-redshift quasars provide crucial information on chemical enrichment in the early universe. Here we present a study of BLR metallicities in 33 quasars at redshift 5.7 < z < 6.4. Using the near-IR spectra of the quasars obtained from the Gemini telescope, we measure their rest-frame UV emission-line flux and calculate flux ratios. We then estimate BLR metallicities with empirical calibrations based on photoionization models. The inferred median metallicity of our sample is a few times the solar value, indicating that the BLR gas had been highly metal enriched at z ∼ 6. We compare our sample with a low-redshift quasar sample with similar luminosities and find no evidence of redshift evolution in quasar BLR metallicities. This is consistent with previous studies. The Fe ii/Mg ii flux ratio, a proxy for the Fe/ α element abundance ratio, shows no redshift evolution as well, further supporting rapid nuclear star formation at z ∼ 6. We also find that the black hole mass–BLR metallicity relation at z ∼ 6 is consistent with the relation measured at 2 < z < 5, suggesting that our results are not biased by a selection effect due to this relation.

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          A luminous quasar at a redshift of z = 7.085.

          The intergalactic medium was not completely reionized until approximately a billion years after the Big Bang, as revealed by observations of quasars with redshifts of less than 6.5. It has been difficult to probe to higher redshifts, however, because quasars have historically been identified in optical surveys, which are insensitive to sources at redshifts exceeding 6.5. Here we report observations of a quasar (ULAS J112001.48+064124.3) at a redshift of 7.085, which is 0.77 billion years after the Big Bang. ULAS J1120+0641 has a luminosity of 6.3 × 10(13)L(⊙) and hosts a black hole with a mass of 2 × 10(9)M(⊙) (where L(⊙) and M(⊙) are the luminosity and mass of the Sun). The measured radius of the ionized near zone around ULAS J1120+0641 is 1.9 megaparsecs, a factor of three smaller than is typical for quasars at redshifts between 6.0 and 6.4. The near-zone transmission profile is consistent with a Lyα damping wing, suggesting that the neutral fraction of the intergalactic medium in front of ULAS J1120+0641 exceeded 0.1.
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            Spectral Energy Distributions and Multiwavelength Selection of Type 1 Quasars

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              Some Aspects of Measurement Error in Linear Regression of Astronomical Data

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                The Astrophysical Journal
                ApJ
                American Astronomical Society
                0004-637X
                1538-4357
                January 31 2022
                February 01 2022
                January 31 2022
                February 01 2022
                : 925
                : 2
                : 121
                Article
                10.3847/1538-4357/ac3a69
                c86c8225-9ea5-4aa8-adad-2f06e4d1069e
                © 2022

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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