Helium Reionization Simulations. III. The Helium Lyman-$α$ Forest [CEA]


In La Plante et al. (2017), we presented a new suite of hydrodynamic simulations with the aim of accurately capturing the process of helium II reionization. In this paper, we discuss the observational signatures present in the He II Ly$\alpha$ forest. We show that the effective optical depth of the volume $\tau_\mathrm{eff}$ is not sufficient for capturing the ionization state of helium II, due to the large variance inherent in sightlines. However, the He II flux PDF can be used to determine the timing of helium II reionization. The amplitude of the one-dimensional flux power spectrum can also determine the ionization state of helium II. We show that even given the currently limited number of observations ($\sim$50 sightlines), measurements of the flux PDF can yield information about helium II reionization. Further, measurements using the one-dimensional power spectrum can provide clear indications of the timing of reionization, as well as the relative bias of sources of ionizing radiation.

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P. Plante, H. Trac, R. Croft, et. al.
Wed, 11 Oct 17

Comments: 9 pages, 5 figures. Submitted to ApJ