Technique for detecting warm-hot intergalactic gas in quasar ultraviolet spectra.
BINETTE L., RODRIGUEZ-MARTINEZ M., HARO-CORZO S. and BALLINAS I.
Abstract (from CDS):
The ionizing spectral energy distribution of quasars exhibits a steepening of the distribution shortward of ∼1200 Å. The change of the power-law index from approximately -1 (near-UV) to -2 (far-UV) has so far been interpreted as being intrinsic to quasars. We consider the possibility that the steepening may result from a tenuous absorption component that is anticorrelated with large mass overdensities. UV-sensitive satellites, whose detectors can extend down to 1000 Å, can set a useful limit to such an absorption component through the search for a flux increase in the window 1050-1190 Å (observer frame) with respect to an extrapolation of the continuum above 1230 Å. Since the recent Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph data do not show any obvious discontinuity in this region, this effectively rules out the possibility that intergalactic H I absorption is very important, and we conclude that most if not all of the steepening is intrinsic to quasars. A smaller flux discontinuity of order 1% cannot, however, be ruled out yet and would still be consistent with the warm-hot intergalactic component if it amounts to 30% of the baryonic mass, as predicted by some models of large scale structure formation, provided its temperature lies around 105.3 K.
Galaxies: Active - Galaxies: Intergalactic Medium - Cosmology: Large-Scale Structure of Universe - Galaxies: Quasars: General - Radiative Transfer - Ultraviolet: General