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          Institute: MPI für Astronomie     Collection: Publikationen_mpia     Display Documents

ID: 742630.0, MPI für Astronomie / Publikationen_mpia
The thermal proximity effect: A new probe of the He II reionization history and quasar lifetime
Authors:Khrykin, I. S.; Hennawi, J. F.; McQuinn, M.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2017
Title of Journal:The Astrophysical Journal
Issue / Number:2
Start Page:id. 96 (22 pp)
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:Despite decades of effort, the timing and duration of He ii reionization and the properties of the quasars believed to drive it are still not well constrained. We present a new method to study both via the thermal proximity effect—the heating of the intergalactic medium (IGM) around quasars when their radiation doubly ionizes helium. We post-process hydrodynamical simulations with 1D radiative transfer and study how the thermal proximity effect depends on the He ii fraction, {x}{He{{II}},0}, which prevailed in the IGM before the quasar turned on, and the quasar lifetime {t}{{Q}}. We find that the amplitude of the temperature boost in the quasar environment depends on {x}{He{{II}},0}, with a characteristic value of {{Δ }}T≃ {10}4 {{K}} for {x}{He{{II}},0}=1.0, whereas the size of the thermal proximity zone is sensitive to {t}{{Q}}, with typical sizes of ≃ 100 {cMpc} for {t}{{Q}}={10}8 {yr}. This temperature boost increases the thermal broadening of H i absorption lines near the quasar. We introduce a new Bayesian statistical method based on measuring the Lyα forest power spectrum as a function of distance from the quasar, and demonstrate that the thermal proximity effect should be easily detectable. For a mock data set of 50 quasars at z≃ 4, we predict that one can measure {x}{He{{II}},0} to an (absolute) precision ≈ 0.04 and {t}{{Q}} to a precision of ≈ 0.1 dex. By applying our formalism to existing high-resolution Lyα forest spectra, one should be able to reconstruct the He ii reionization history, providing a global census of hard photons in the high-z universe.
Free Keywords:cosmology: theory; dark ages; reionization; first stars; intergalactic medium; quasars: general
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:N. N.
Affiliations:MPI für Astronomie
Identifiers:ISSN:0004-637X %R 10.3847/1538-4357/aa6621
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