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Constraining the intergalactic medium at z ≈ 9.1 using LOFAR Epoch of Reionization observations


Ghara, R; Giri, S K; Mellema, G; Ciardi, B; Zaroubi, S; Iliev, I T; Koopmans, L V E; Chapman, E; Gazagnes, S; Gehlot, B K; Ghosh, A; Jelić, V; Mertens, F G; Mondal, R; Schaye, J; Silva, M B; Asad, K M B; Kooistra, R; Mevius, M; Offringa, A R; Pandey, V N; Yatawatta, S (2020). Constraining the intergalactic medium at z ≈ 9.1 using LOFAR Epoch of Reionization observations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 493(4):4728-4747.

Abstract

We derive constraints on the thermal and ionization states of the intergalactic medium (IGM) at redshift ≈ 9.1 using new upper limits on the 21-cm power spectrum measured by the LOFAR radio telescope and a prior on the ionized fraction at that redshift estimated from recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) observations. We have used results from the reionization simulation code grizzly and a Bayesian inference framework to constrain the parameters which describe the physical state of the IGM. We find that, if the gas heating remains negligible, an IGM with ionized fraction ≳0.13 and a distribution of the ionized regions with a characteristic size ≳ 8 h−1 comoving megaparsec (Mpc) and a full width at half-maximum (FWHM) ≳16 h−1 Mpc is ruled out. For an IGM with a uniform spin temperature TS ≳ 3 K, no constraints on the ionized component can be computed. If the large-scale fluctuations of the signal are driven by spin temperature fluctuations, an IGM with a volume fraction ≲0.34 of heated regions with a temperature larger than CMB, average gas temperature 7–160 K, and a distribution of the heated regions with characteristic size 3.5–70 h−1 Mpc and FWHM of ≲110 h−1 Mpc is ruled out. These constraints are within the 95 per cent credible intervals. With more stringent future upper limits from LOFAR at multiple redshifts, the constraints will become tighter and will exclude an increasingly large region of the parameter space.

Abstract

We derive constraints on the thermal and ionization states of the intergalactic medium (IGM) at redshift ≈ 9.1 using new upper limits on the 21-cm power spectrum measured by the LOFAR radio telescope and a prior on the ionized fraction at that redshift estimated from recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) observations. We have used results from the reionization simulation code grizzly and a Bayesian inference framework to constrain the parameters which describe the physical state of the IGM. We find that, if the gas heating remains negligible, an IGM with ionized fraction ≳0.13 and a distribution of the ionized regions with a characteristic size ≳ 8 h−1 comoving megaparsec (Mpc) and a full width at half-maximum (FWHM) ≳16 h−1 Mpc is ruled out. For an IGM with a uniform spin temperature TS ≳ 3 K, no constraints on the ionized component can be computed. If the large-scale fluctuations of the signal are driven by spin temperature fluctuations, an IGM with a volume fraction ≲0.34 of heated regions with a temperature larger than CMB, average gas temperature 7–160 K, and a distribution of the heated regions with characteristic size 3.5–70 h−1 Mpc and FWHM of ≲110 h−1 Mpc is ruled out. These constraints are within the 95 per cent credible intervals. With more stringent future upper limits from LOFAR at multiple redshifts, the constraints will become tighter and will exclude an increasingly large region of the parameter space.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Astronomy and Astrophysics
Physical Sciences > Space and Planetary Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Space and Planetary Science, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Language:English
Date:21 April 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 10:42
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 21:01
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa487

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