Redshifted 21 Centimeter Signatures around the Highest Redshift Quasars
Wyithe, J. Stuart B.
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CitationWyithe, J. Stuart B., and Abraham Loeb. 2004. “Redshifted 21 Centimeter Signatures around the Highest Redshift Quasars.” The Astrophysical Journal 610 (1): 117–27. https://doi.org/10.1086/421042.
AbstractThe Lyalpha absorption spectrum of the highest redshift quasars indicates that they are surrounded by giant H II regions, a few megaparsecs in size. The neutral gas around these H II regions should emit 21 cm radiation in excess of the cosmic microwave background and enable future radio telescopes to measure the transverse extent of these H II regions. At early times, the H II regions expand with a relativistic speed. Consequently, their measured sizes along the line of sight (via Lyalpha absorption) and transverse to it ( via 21 cm emission) should have different observed values due to relativistic time delay. We show that the combined measurement of these sizes would directly constrain the neutral fraction of the surrounding intergalactic medium (IGM) as well as the quasar lifetime. Based on current number counts of luminous quasars at z greater than or similar to 6, an instrument like LOFAR should detect greater than or similar to2 redshifted 21 cm shells per field ( with a radius of 11degrees) around active quasars as bright as those already discovered by Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and greater than or similar to200 relic shells of inactive quasars per field. We show that Lyalpha photons from the quasar are unable to heat the IGM or to couple the spin and kinetic temperatures of atomic hydrogen beyond the edge of the H II region. The detection of the IGM in 21 cm emission around high-redshift quasars would therefore gauge the presence of a cosmic Lyalpha background during the reionization epoch.
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