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          Institute: MPI für Astronomie     Collection: Publikationen_mpia     Display Documents

ID: 742862.0, MPI für Astronomie / Publikationen_mpia
Statistical detection of the He II transverse proximity effect: Evidence for sustained quasar activity for >25 million years
Authors:Schmidt, T. M.; Worseck, G.; Hennawi, J. F.; Prochaska, J. X.; Crighton, N. H. M.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2017
Title of Journal:The Astrophysical Journal
Issue / Number:1
Start Page:id. 81 ( 26 pp)
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:The He II transverse proximity effect—enhanced He II {Ly}α transmission in a background sightline caused by the ionizing radiation of a foreground quasar—offers a unique opportunity to probe the morphology of quasar-driven He II reionization. We conduct a comprehensive spectroscopic survey to find z˜ 3 quasars in the foreground of 22 background quasar sightlines with Hubble Space Telescope/COS He II {Ly}α transmission spectra. With our two-tiered survey strategy, consisting of a deep pencil-beam survey and a shallow wide-field survey, we discover 131 new quasars, which we complement with known SDSS/BOSS quasars in our fields. Using a restricted sample of 66 foreground quasars with inferred He II photoionization rates greater than the expected UV background at these redshifts ({{{Γ }}}{QSO}{He {{II}}}> 5× {10}-16 {{{s}}}-1) we perform the first statistical analysis of the He II transverse proximity effect. Our results show qualitative evidence for a large object-to-object variance: among the four foreground quasars with the highest {{{Γ }}}{QSO}{He {{II}}} only one (previously known) quasar is associated with a significant He II transmission spike. We perform a stacking analysis to average down these fluctuations, and detect an excess in the average He II transmission near the foreground quasars at 3σ significance. This statistical evidence for the transverse proximity effect is corroborated by a clear dependence of the signal strength on {{{Γ }}}{QSO}{He {{II}}}. Our detection places a purely geometrical lower limit on the quasar lifetime of {t}{{Q}}> 25 {Myr}. Improved modeling would additionally constrain quasar obscuration and the mean free path of He
Free Keywords:dark ages; reionization; first stars; intergalactic medium; quasars: general
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:N. N.
Affiliations:MPI für Astronomie
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