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Detection of He II reionization in the sloan digital sky survey quasar sample.

Theuns, Tom and Bernardi, M. and Frieman, J. and Hewett, P. and Schaye, J. and Sheth, R. K. and Subbarao, M. (2002) 'Detection of He II reionization in the sloan digital sky survey quasar sample.', Astrophysical journal : letters., 574 (2). L111-L114.


The expansion of the universe leads to a rapid drop in the hydrogen Ly effective optical depth of the intergalactic medium (IGM), N/Aeff(1+z)3.8, between redshifts 4 and 3. Measurements of the temperature evolution of the IGM and of the He ii opacity both suggest that He ii reionizes in this redshift range. We use hydrodynamical simulations to show that the observed temperature increase associated with He ii reionization leads to a relatively sudden decrease in N/Aeff around the reionization epoch of 10%. We find clear evidence for such a feature in the evolution of N/Aeff determined from a sample of 1100 quasars obtained from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He ii reionization starts at redshift 3.4 and lasts for z0.4. The increase in the IGM temperature also explains the widths of hydrogen absorption lines as measured in high-resolution spectra.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Cosmology, Observations, Theory, Galaxies formation, Intergalactic medium, Quasars, Absorption lines.
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Record Created:20 May 2008
Last Modified:02 Jun 2015 17:54

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