Not Dead Yet: Cool Circumgalactic Gas in the Halos of Early Type Galaxies
We report new observations of circumgalactic gas in the halos of early type galaxies obtained by the COS-Halos Survey with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. We find that detections of HI surrounding early type galaxies are typically as common and strong as around star-forming galaxies, implying that the total mass of circumgalactic material is comparable in the two populations. For early type galaxies, the covering fraction for HI absorption above 10^16 cm^2 is ~40-50% within ~150 kpc. Line widths and kinematics of the detected material show it to be cold (T ~< 10^5 K) in comparison to the virial temperature of the host halos. The implied masses of cool, photoionized CGM baryons may be up to 10^9 --- 10^11 Msun. Contrary to some theoretical expectations, strong halo HI absorbers do not disappear as part of the quenching of star-formation. Even passive galaxies retain significant reservoirs of halo baryons which could replenish the interstellar gas reservoir and eventually form stars. This halo gas may feed the diffuse and molecular gas that is frequently observed inside ETGs.