Molecular transitions recently discovered at redshift zabs=2.059 toward the bright background quasar J2123-0050 are analysed to limit cosmological variation in the proton-to-electron mass ratio, μ ≡ mp/me. Observed with the Keck telescope, the optical spectrum has the highest resolving power and largest number (86) of H2 transitions in such analyses so far. Also, (7) HD transitions are used for the first time to constrain μ-variation. These factors, and an analysis employing the fewest possible free parameters, strongly constrain μ's relative deviation from the current laboratory value: Δμ/μ =(+5.6±5.5stat±2.7sys)×10-6. This is the first Keck result to complement recent constraints from three systems at zabs>2.5 observed with the Very Large Telescope.
Highlights of Astronomy
- Pub Date:
- November 2010
- line: profiles – techniques: spectroscopic – methods: data analysis – quasars: absorption lines;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- 6 pages, 3 figures (3 EPS files). Contribution to Proc. IAU XXVIIth General Assembly, Joint Discussion 9, "Are the fundamental constants varying with time?". In P. Molaro, E. Vangioni-Flam, eds, Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana (MmSAIt), Vol. 80, pp. 882-887 (2009)