29 June 2000 Chemical abundances in the damped Lyα systems
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Reviewed in this paper are the recent and potential advances made with 10m-class telescopes on the chemical abundances of proto-galaxies in the early universe. In particular, we focus on measurements of the damped Ly(alpha) systems, layers of neutral hydrogen gas which dominate the HI content of the universe. Observed along the sightline to distant quasars, these systems are the progenitors of present-day galaxies. Therefore, analyses on the abundances of these systems provide direct insight into the chemical evolution of the universe at high redshift. The advent of 10m-class telescopes and efficient high resolution spectrographs have enables great progress on damped Ly(alpha) chemical abundances, particularly in two areas: (1) studies of the relative abundance patterns in the ISM of individual protogalaxies; and (2) metallicity measurements at z > 3. In this proceedings, we discuss these result and describe their impact on our understanding of chemical evolution in the early universe. Finally, we detail the areas of chemical abundance research that we believe should be the focus of future studies with current and new instruments on large telescopes.
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Jason X. Prochaska, "Chemical abundances in the damped Lyα systems", Proc. SPIE 4005, Discoveries and Research Prospects from 8- to 10-Meter-Class Telescopes, (29 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.390162; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.390162

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