Constraining the reionization history with quasar absorption lines

Laura Keating (CITA) // December 2, 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.

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