Epoch of reionization 21 cm forecasting from MCMC-constrained semi-numerical models

Sultan Hassan, Romeel Davé, Kristian Finlator, Mario G. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The recent low value of Planck Collaboration XLVII integrated optical depth to Thomson scattering suggests that the reionization occurred fairly suddenly, disfavouring extended reionization scenarios. This will have a significant impact on the 21 cm power spectrum. Using a semi-numerical framework, we improve our model from instantaneous to include time-integrated ionization and recombination effects, and find that this leads to more sudden reionization. It also yields larger H II bubbles that lead to an order of magnitude more 21 cm power on large scales, while suppressing the small-scale ionization power. Local fluctuations in the neutral hydrogen density play the dominant role in boosting the 21 cm power spectrum on large scales, while recombinations are subdominant. We use a Monte Carlo Markov chain approach to constrain our model to observations of the star formation rate functions at z = 6, 7, 8 from Bouwens et al., the Planck Collaboration XLVII optical depth measurements and the Becker & Bolton ionizing emissivity data at z ˜ 5. We then use this constrained model to perform 21 cm forecasting for Low Frequency Array, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and Square Kilometre Array in order to determine how well such data can characterize the sources driving reionization. We find that the Mock 21 cm power spectrum alone can somewhat constrain the halo mass dependence of ionizing sources, the photon escape fraction and ionizing amplitude, but combining the Mock 21 cm data with other current observations enables us to separately constrain all these parameters. Our framework illustrates how the future 21 cm data can play a key role in understanding the sources and topology of reionization as observations improve.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-139
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cosmology: theory
  • dark ages
  • reionization
  • first stars
  • early Universe
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies:evolution
  • galaxies: high redshift


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