On the use of Ly alpha emitters as probes of reionization
2013 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 428, no 2, 1366-1381 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We use numerical simulations to study the effects of the patchiness of a partly reionized intergalactic medium (IGM) on the observability of Ly alpha emitters (LAEs) at high redshifts (z greater than or similar to 6). We present a new model that divides the Ly alpha radiative transfer into a (circum) galactic and an extragalactic (IGM) part, and investigate how the choice of intrinsic line model affects the IGM transmission results. We use our model to study the impact of neutral hydrogen on statistical observables such as the Ly alpha rest-frame equivalent width (REW) distribution, the LAE luminosity function and the two-point correlation function. We find that if the observed changes in LAE luminosity functions and equivalent width distributions between z similar to 6 and 7 are to be explained by an increased IGM neutral fraction alone, we require an extremely late and rapid reionization scenario, where the Universe was similar to 40 per cent ionized at z = 7, similar to 50 per cent ionized at z = 6.5 and similar to 100 per cent ionized at z = 6. This is in conflict with other observations, suggesting that intrinsic LAE evolution at z greater than or similar to 6 cannot be completely neglected. We show how the two-point correlation function can provide more robust constraints once future observations obtain larger LAE samples, and provide predictions for the sample sizes needed to tell different reionization scenarios apart.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 428, no 2, 1366-1381 p.
radiative transfer, methods: numerical, galaxies: high-redshift, galaxies: statistics
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject Astronomy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92052DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sts116ISI: 000318229000034OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92052DiVA: diva2:636946
FunderSwedish Research Council, 2009-4088