This is the astro-ph blog of the Theoretical Modelling of Cosmic Structures group (TMoX) at the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. We are an independent Max-Planck Research Group focusing on the various aspects in the formation and evolution of galaxies. Part of our focus is on the formation and evolution of early-type galaxies, super-massive black holes, the formation of the first structures in the universe and the enrichment history of the Universe. We are theoreticians using analytic modelling as well as numerical simulations in our work.

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24 February 2012

The effect of intergalactic helium on hydrogen reionisation: implications for the sources of ionising photons at z > 6

This paper (link) improves on existing reionisation simulations in two ways: by including helium in the radiative transfer simulations that are done in post-processing and by modeling the ionising emissivities in such a way that they are consistent with the observational constraints on the Thomson scattering optical depth and hydrogen photo-ionisation rate at z<6. The evolution of the volume fraction of ionised hydrogen is not significantly impacted by the inclusion of helium (and is in fact reproduced very well with a simple semi-analytic model), except for a small delay in reionisation when helium is included. The impact of helium on the temperature evolution is larger: at lower redshifts the volume averaged temperature of the IGM is higher. Comparing the simulation results with measurements of the IGM temperature shows that reionisation is mainly driven by sources with a soft spectrum. Contribution from mini-quasars or Pop III stars has to be small at redshifts 6 < z < 9. A significant number of ionising photons is produced by faint, low-mass galaxies.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that the spectral index of the sources has a larger influence on the results than the inclusion of helium. Can the contribution of mini-quasars and pop III stars also be excluded using H-only simulations with harder spectra?