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Astron. Astrophys. 352, L1-L4 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

Spectroscopic study of high redshift quasars *

M. Dietrich 1, I. Appenzeller 1,4, S.J. Wagner 1, W. Gässler 3, R. Häfner 3, H.-J. Hess 3, W. Hummel 3, B. Muschielok 3, H. Nicklas 2, G. Rupprecht 5, W. Seifert 1, O. Stahl 1, T. Szeifert 5,1 and K. Tarantik 3

1 Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Königstuhl, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Universitätssternwarte Göttingen, Geismarlandstrasse 11, 37083 Göttingen, Germany
3 Universitätssternwarte München, Scheinerstrasse 1, 81679 München, Germany
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
5 ESO Garching, Germany

Received 9 August 1999 / Accepted 23 August 1999


We obtained optical spectra of four quasars with 3[FORMULA]z [FORMULA]4 and SDSSp J033829.31+002156.3 with z = 5.0 with FORS 1 at the VLT UT1 Antu. To estimate the relative abundances of the line emitting gas we used the line ratios NV1240/CIV1549, NV1240/HeII1640, and OVI1034/HeII1640 as suggested by Hamann & Ferland (1992, 1999). Based on chemical evolutionary models we estimate a metallicity of Z[FORMULA] 7 [FORMULA] for the quasars with z [FORMULA] 3 within the framework of the rapid star formation scenario. Even Q0338+0021 indicates a comparable high relative abundance. Qur results provide support for supersolar metallicities at very high redshifts of z [FORMULA]5.

Key words: cosmology: early Universe – galaxies: quasars: emission lines

* Based on observations with the VLT-UT1 operated on Cerro Paranal (Chile) by the European Southern Observatory

Send offprint requests to: M. Dietrich (mdietric@lsw.uni-heidelberg.de)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: November 23, 1999