Large-scale fluctuations in the He II Lyα forest and He II reionization.
FURLANETTO S.R. and DIXON K.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We examine large-scale fluctuations in the He II Lyα forest transmission during and after He II reionization. We use a simple Monte Carlo model to distribute quasars throughout a large volume and compute the resulting radiation field along one-dimensional skewers. In agreement with previous studies, we find that the rarity of these sources induces order unity fluctuations in the mean optical depth after reionization, even when averaged over large segments (∼10-100Mpc across). We compare our models to existing data along five He II Lyα forest lines of sight spanning z ∼ 2-3.2. The large cosmic variance contained in our model plausibly explains many of the observed fluctuations at z ≲ 2.5. But our models cannot accommodate the large fluctuations toward high optical depths on ∼30Mpc scales observed at z ∼ 2.7-2.9, and the measured optical depths (τeff≳ 4) at z>2.9 are difficult to explain with a smoothly evolving mean radiation field. In order to better understand these data, we construct a toy model of He II reionization, in which we assume that regions with the smallest radiation fields in a post-reionization universe (or farthest from strong ionizing sources) are completely dark during reionization. The observed fluctuations fit much more comfortably into this model, and we therefore argue that, according to present data, He II reionization does not complete until z ≲ 2.9.
cosmology: theory - diffuse radiation - intergalactic medium