The effect of inhomogeneous reionization on the Lyman α forest power spectrum at redshift z > 4: implications for thermal parameter recovery
Abstract
We use the SherwoodRelics suite of hybrid hydrodynamical and radiative transfer simulations to model the effect of inhomogeneous reionization on the 1D power spectrum of the Lyman α (Lyα) forest transmitted flux at redshifts 4.2 ≤ z ≤ 5. Relative to models that assume a homogeneous ultraviolet background, reionization suppresses the power spectrum at small scales, k ~ 0.1 km^{1} s, by ~10 per cent because of spatial variations in the thermal broadening kernel and the divergent peculiar velocity field associated with overpressurized intergalactic gas. On larger scales, $k\lt 0.03\rm \, km^{1}\, s$, the power spectrum is instead enhanced by 1050 per cent by largescale spatial variations in the neutral hydrogen fraction. The effect of inhomogeneous reionization must therefore be accounted for in analyses of forthcoming high precision measurements. We provide a correction for the Lyα forest power spectrum at 4.1 ≤ z ≤ 5.4 that can be easily applied within other parameter inference frameworks using similar reionization models. We perform a Bayesian analysis of mock data to assess the extent of systematic biases that may arise in measurements of the intergalactic medium if ignoring this correction. At the scales probed by current highresolution Lyα forest data at z > 4, $0.006 \le k \le 0.2 \rm \, km^{1}\, s$, we find inhomogeneous reionization does not introduce any significant bias in thermal parameter recovery for the current measurement uncertainties of ~10 per cent. However, for 5 per cent uncertainties, ~1σ shifts between the estimated and true parameters occur.
 Publication:

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
 Pub Date:
 February 2022
 DOI:
 10.1093/mnras/stab3416
 arXiv:
 arXiv:2109.06897
 Bibcode:
 2022MNRAS.509.6119M
 Keywords:

 methods: numerical;
 intergalactic medium;
 quasars: absorption lines;
 largescale structure of Universe;
 Astrophysics  Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 Accepted by MNRAS (21 November 2021), 20 pages, 11 figures