Approaching reionization: the evolution of the Ly α forest from z=4 to z=6.
SONGAILA A. and COWIE L.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We analyze the Lyα forest properties of a sample of 15 high-redshift quasars lying between z=4.42 and z=5.75, using high signal-to-noise spectra obtained with the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager on the Keck II 10 m telescope. The distribution of transmissions in the Lyα region in this redshift range is shown to be consistent with that found in lambda cold dark matter simulations with a smoothly evolving ionization rate as a function of redshift. The extrapolation of the ionizing flux to z=6.05 lies a factor of 2 higher than a 2 σ upper limit placed by Cen & McDonald at this redshift, based on the Becker et al. spectra of the z=6.28 quasar SDSS 1030+0524. However, the data are also consistent with models in which there is substantial variation of the ionization parameter about the mean value, and in this case, dark gaps such as those seen by Becker et al. become much more likely. We conclude that further data are needed before we can be sure that we have seen the epoch of reionization. We also summarize the damped Lyα systems (DLAs) seen in these quasar lines of sight and measure their metallicities and kinematic properties. We argue that the mean DLA metallicity has dropped substantially by z=5, compared with its value at z<4.
Cosmology: Early Universe - Galaxies: Formation - Galaxies: Intergalactic Medium - Galaxies: Quasars: Absorption Lines
In abstract : SDSS 1030+0524 = SDSS J103027.10+052455.0. Similarly, all SDSS in text and tables, found with truncated format and J missing, are written SDSS JHHMMSS.ss+DDMMSS.s in SIMBAD.