Constraining the reionization history with quasar absorption lines
Laura Keating (CITA)
December 02, 2019
Abstract: The epoch of reionization marks the last major phase transition of the Universe, when photons emitted by the first structures ionized and heated the gas surrounding them. A complete understanding of reionization would reveal the properties of the first stars and galaxies, as well as increasing the precision to which the high-redshift intergalactic medium can be used as a cosmological probe. In this talk I will present results from radiative transfer simulations of cosmic reionization, which were carefully calibrated to reproduce the mean flux of the Lyman-alpha forest below redshift 6. I will show that matching the observed mean flux requires reionization to have ended later than previously thought. I will demonstrate that future observations of high redshift quasars have the potential to constrain the entire latter half of reionization from quasar absorption line data alone.