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Infrared emission-line tomography of the intergalactic medium during the epoch of reionization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2129-2136
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2012


The first major star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei will produce Balmer and higher order extended haloes during the epoch of reionization through the scattering of Lyman resonance line photons off the surrounding neutral intergalactic gas. The optical depth dependence of the scattering rates will produce a signal sensitive to both the density and velocity fluctuations of the gas, offering the possibility of probing the ionization region and flow field surrounding young star-forming galaxies. The requirements for detecting the haloes in the infrared using a space-based telescope are discussed. A suggested experiment designed to match the Balmer halo characteristics for a field of view with a 1 arcmin radius would have a signal-to-noise ratio of (1-3)Msun100t61/2, where Msun100 is the star formation rate in units of 100 Msun yr-1 and t6 is the exposure time in units of 106 s. Simultaneous measurements of multiple Balmer order haloes would reduce the integration time required for detection by a comparable factor.

    Research areas

  • atomic processes, infrared: general, cosmology: theory, scattering, radiative transfer, line: formation

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