Isotopic ratios at z=0.68 from molecular absorption lines toward B 0218+357
Journal article, 2016
Isotopic ratios of heavy elements are a key signature of the nucleosynthesis processes in stellar interiors. The contribution of successive generations of stars to the metal enrichment of the Universe is imprinted on the evolution of isotopic ratios over time. We investigate the isotopic ratios of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur through millimeter molecular absorption lines arising in the z = 0.68 absorber toward the blazar B 0218+357. We find that these ratios differ from those observed in the Galactic interstellar medium, but are remarkably close to those in the only other source at intermediate redshift for which isotopic ratios have been measured to date, the z = 0.89 absorber in front of PKS 1830-211. The isotopic ratios in these two absorbers should reflect enrichment mostly from massive stars, and they are indeed close to the values observed toward local starburst galaxies. Our measurements set constraints on nucleosynthesis and chemical evolution models.
quasars: absorption lines
radio lines: galaxies
quasars: individual: B 0218+357