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Constraining the second half of reionization with the Ly β forest

Abstract : We present an analysis of the evolution of the Lyman-series forest into the epoch of reionization using cosmological radiative transfer simulations in a scenario where reionization ends late. We explore models with different mid-points of reionization and gas temperatures. We find that once the simulations have been calibrated to match the mean flux of the observed Lyman-α (Ly α) forest at 4 < z < 6, they also naturally reproduce the distribution of effective optical depths of the Lyman-β (Ly β) forest in this redshift range. We note that the tail of the largest optical depths that is most challenging to match corresponds to the long absorption trough of ULAS J0148+0600, which we have previously shown to be rare in our simulations. We consider the evolution of the Lyman-series forest out to higher redshifts, and show that future observations of the Ly β forest at z > 6 will discriminate between different reionization histories. The evolution of the Ly α and Ly γ forests are less promising as a tool for pushing studies of reionization to higher redshifts due to the stronger saturation and foreground contamination, respectively.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 4:18:41 PM
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Laura C. Keating, Girish Kulkarni, Martin G. Haehnelt, Jonathan Chardin, Dominique Aubert. Constraining the second half of reionization with the Ly β forest. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2020, 497 (1), pp.906-915. ⟨10.1093/mnras/staa1909⟩. ⟨hal-02459822⟩



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