Lensing, reddening and extinction effects of Mg ii absorbers from z = 0.4 to 2

Brice Ménard, Daniel Nestor, David Turnshek, Anna Quider, Gordon Richards, Doron Chelouche, Sandhya Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a sample of almost 7000 strong Mg ii absorbers with W0 > 1 Å and 0.4 < z < 2.2 detected in the SDSS DR4 data set, we investigate the gravitational lensing and dust extinction effects they induce on background quasars. After carefully quantifying several selection biases, we isolate the reddening effects as a function of redshift and absorber rest equivalent width, W0. We find the amount of dust to increase with cosmic time as τ(z) ∝ (1 + z)-1.1±0.4, following the evolution of cosmic star density or integrated star formation rate. We measure the reddening effects over a factor of 30 in E(B - V) and we find that τ ∝ (W0)1.9±0.1, providing us with an important scaling for theoretical modelling of metal absorbers. We also measure the dust-to-metal ratio and find it similar to that of the Milky Way. In contrast to previous studies, we do not detect any gravitational magnification by Mg ii systems. We measure the upper limit μ < 1.10 and discuss the origin of the discrepancy. Finally, we estimate the fraction of absorbers missed due to extinction effects and show that it rises from 1 to 50 per cent in the range 1 < W0 < 6 Å. We parametrize this effect and provide a correction for recovering the intrinsic ∂N/∂W0 distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1066
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust, extinction
  • Gravitational lensing
  • Methods: statistical
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Lensing, reddening and extinction effects of Mg ii absorbers from z = 0.4 to 2'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this