A comparison of absorption- and emission-line abundances in the nearby damped Lyα galaxy SBS 1543+593

David V. Bowen, Edward B. Jenkins, Max Pettini, Todd M. Tripp

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We have used STIS aboard HST to measure a sulfur abundance of [S/H] = -0. 41 ±0.06 in the ISM of the nearby DLA galaxy SBS 1543+593. A direct comparison between this QSO absorption line abundance and abundances measured from H II region emission line diagnostics yields the same result: the abundance of sulfur in the neutral ISM is in good agreement with that of oxygen measured in an H II region 3 kpc away. Our result contrasts with those of other recent studies that have claimed order-of-magnitude differences between H i (absorption) and H II (emission) region abundances. We also derive a nickel abundance of [Ni/Hj < -0.81, some 3 times less than that of sulfur, and suggest that the depletion is due to dust, although we cannot rule out an overabundance of rv-elements as the cause of the lower metallicity. It is possible that our measure of [S/H ] is overestimated if some S n arises in ionized gas; adopting a plausible star formation rate for the galaxy along the line of sight and a measurement of the C II* λ1335.7 absorption line detected from SBS 1543+593, we determine that the metallicity is unlikely to be smaller than we derive by more than 0.25 dex. We estimate that the cooling rate of the cool neutral medium is log [1c(ergs s -1 H atom-1)] ≈-27.0, the same value as that seen in the high-redshift DLA population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-893
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Dec 20 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: abundances
  • Galaxies: individual (SBS 1543+593)
  • Quasars: absorption lines quasars: individual (HS 1543+5921)


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