Journal article

A first direct measurement of the intergalactic medium temperature around a quasar at z=6

James S Bolton, George D Becker, J Stuart B Wyithe, Martin G Haehnelt, Wallace LW Sargent

MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY | OXFORD UNIV PRESS | Published : 2010

Abstract

The thermal state of the intergalactic medium (IGM) provides an indirect probe of both the H i and He ii reionization epochs. Current constraints on the IGM temperature from the Lyα forest are restricted to the redshift range 2 ≤ z ≤ 4.5, limiting the ability to probe the thermal memory of H i reionization towards higher redshift. In this work, we present the first direct measurement of the IGM temperature around a z = 6 quasar by analyzing the Doppler widths of Lyα absorption lines in the proximity zone of SDSS J0818+1722. We use a high-resolution (R = 40 000) Keck/HIRES spectrum in combination with detailed numerical modelling to obtain the temperature at mean density, T0 = 23 600 ± 500069..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by ARC


Awarded by Science and Technology Facilities Council


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Benedetta Ciardi and Peng Oh for valuable conversations during the course of this work. The hydrodynamical simulations used in this work were performed using the Darwin Supercomputer of the University of Cambridge High Performance Computing Service (http://www.hpc.cam.ac.uk/), provided by Dell Inc. using Strategic Research Infrastructure Funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. JSB acknowledges the support of an ARC Australian postdoctoral fellowship (DP0984947), and GDB thanks the Kavli foundation for financial support.