On the observability of individual Population III stars and their stellar-mass black hole accretion disks through cluster caustic transits [GA]


We summarize panchromatic Extragalactic Background Light data to place upper limits on the integrated near-infrared surface brightness (SB) that may come from Population III stars and possible accretion disks around their stellar-mass black holes (BHs) in the epoch of First Light, broadly taken from z$\simeq$7-17. Theoretical predictions and recent near-infrared power-spectra provide tighter constraints on their sky-signal. We outline the physical properties of zero metallicity Population III stars from MESA stellar evolution models through helium-depletion and of BH accretion disks at z$\gtrsim$7. We assume that second-generation non-zero metallicity stars can form at higher multiplicity, so that BH accretion disks may be fed by Roche-lobe overflow from lower-mass companions. We use these near-infrared SB constraints to calculate the number of caustic transits behind lensing clusters that the James Webb Space Telescope and the next generation ground-based telescopes may observe for both Population III stars and their BH accretion disks. Typical caustic magnifications can be $\mu$$\simeq$10$^4$-10$^5$, with rise times of hours and decline times of $\lesssim$1 year for cluster transverse velocities of $v_{T}$$\lesssim$1000 km s$^{-1}$. Microlensing by intracluster medium objects can modify transit magnifications, but lengthen visibility times. Depending on BH masses, accretion-disk radii and feeding efficiencies, stellar-mass BH accretion-disk caustic transits could outnumber those from Population III stars. To observe Population III caustic transits directly may require to monitor 3-30 lensing clusters to AB$\lesssim$29 mag over a decade.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Windhorst, F. Timmes, J. Wyithe, et. al.
Fri, 12 Jan 18

Comments: 53 pages, 5 figures, Accepted for publication in ApJS