Document Type

Journal Article

Role

Author

Standard Number

0004-637X

Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal

Volume

601

Issue

2

First Page

715

Last Page

722

Publication Date

2004

Abstract

Quasar spectra have a variety of absorption lines whose origins range from energetic winds expelled from the central engines to unrelated, intergalactic clouds. We present multiepoch, medium-resolution spectra of eight quasars at z ~ 2 that have narrow "associated" absorption lines (AALs, within ±5000 km s-1 of the emission redshift). Two of these quasars were also known previously to have high-velocity mini-broad absorption lines (mini-BALs). We use these data, spanning ~17 yr in the observed frame with 2-4 observations per object, to search for line-strength variations as an identifier of absorption that occurs physically near ("intrinsic" to) the central active galactic nucleus. Our main results are the following: Two out of the eight quasars with narrow AALs exhibit variable AAL strengths. Two out of two quasars with high-velocity mini-BALs exhibit variable mini-BAL strengths. We also marginally detect variability in a high-velocity narrow absorption line system, blueshifted ~32,900 km s-1 with respect to the emission lines. No other absorption lines in these quasars appeared to vary. The outflow velocities of the variable AALs are 3140 and 1490 km s-1. The two mini-BALs identify much higher velocity outflows of ~28,400 and ~52,000 km s-1. Our temporal sampling yields upper limits on the variation timescales from 0.28 to 6.1 yr in the quasar rest frames. The corresponding minimum electron densities in the variable absorbers, based on the recombination timescale, are ~40,000 to ~1900 cm-3. The maximum distances of the absorbers from the continuum source, assuming photoionization with no spectral shielding, range from ~1.8 to ~7 kpc.

Faculty Start Year

2013

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