A Carbon-enhanced Lyman Limit System: Signature of the First Generation of Stars?

We present the study of a Lyman limit system (LLS) at $z_{\rm abs}$ = 1.5441 towards quasar J134122.50+185213.9 observed with VLT X-shooter. This is a very peculiar system with strong C I absorption seen associated with a neutral hydrogen column density of log $N$(H I) (cm$^{-2}$) = 18.10, too small to shield the gas from any external UV flux. The low ionization absorption lines exhibit a simple kinematic structure consistent with a single component. Using CLOUDY models to correct for ionization, we find that the ionization parameter of the gas is in the range $-$ 4.5 $ $ +2.2 at [Fe/H] $\sim$ $-$1.6. Such a metal abundance pattern is reminiscent of carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars detected in the Galaxy halo. Metal enrichment by the first generation of supernovae provides a plausible explanation for the inferred abundance pattern in this system.
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