Does the Fine Structure Constant Vary? A Third Quasar Absorption Sample Consistent with Varying α
We report results from a third sample of quasar absorption line spectra from the Keck telescope which has been studied to search for any possible variation of the fine structure constant, α. This third sample, which is larger than the sum of the two previously published samples, shows the same effect, and also gives, as do the previous two samples, a significant result. The combined sample yields a highly significant effect, Δα / α = (α z − α 0) / α 0 = −0.57 ± 0.10 × 10−5, averaged over the redshift range 0.2 < z < 3.7. We include a brief discussion of small-scale kinematic structure in quasar absorbing clouds. However, kinematics are unlikely to impact significantly on the averaged non-zero Δ α / α above, and we have so far been unable to identify any systematic effect which can explain it. New measurements of quasar spectra obtained using independent instrumentation and telescopes are required to properly check the Keck results.
KeywordsColumn Density Fine Structure Constant Kinematic Effect Wavelength Calibration Redshift Range
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Crawford, I.A., Howarth, I.D., Ryder, S.D. and Stathakis, R.A.: 2000, Mon. Not. Roy. Soc 319, Ll.Google Scholar
- Dzuba, V.A., Flambaum, V.V., Kozlov, M.G. and Marchenko, M.: 2002, Phys. Rev. A 66, 02 2501.Google Scholar
- Mailer, A., Somerville, R.S., Prochaska, J.X. and Primack, J.R.: 1999, in: A.J. Bunker and W.J.M. van Breugel (eds.), The Hy-Redshift Universe: Galaxy Formation and Evolution at High Redshift, Vol. 193 of ASP Conf. See.., San Francisco, CA, U.S.A, p. 608.Google Scholar
- Murphy, M.T., Webb, J.K., Flambaum, V.V., Churchill, C.W. and Prochaska, J.X.: 200 lb, Mon. Not. Roy. Soc 327, 1223.Google Scholar
- Murphy, M.T., Webb, J.K., Flambaum, V.V. and Curran, S.J.: 2003, in: C.J.A.P. Martins (ed.), The Cosmology of Extra Dimensions and Varying Fundamental Constants Google Scholar
- Palmer, B.A. and Engleman, R.: 1983, Atlas of the Thorium spectrum, Technical report, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, USA.Google Scholar
- Prochaska, J.X.: 2002, Astrophys. J, accepted astro-ph/0209193.Google Scholar
- Webb, J.K., Murphy, M.T., Flambaum, V.V., Dzuba, V.A., Barrow, J.D., Churchill, C.W., Prochaska, J.X. and Wolfe, A.M.: 2001, Phys. Rev. Lett 87, 09 1301.Google Scholar