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Galaxies as fluctuations in the ionizing background radiation at low redshift

Linder, Suzanne M., Gunesch, Roland, Davies, Jonathan Ivor, Baes, Maarten, Evans, Rhodri, Roberts, Sarah G., Sabatini, Sabina ORCID: and Smith, Rodney 2003. Galaxies as fluctuations in the ionizing background radiation at low redshift. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 342 (4) , pp. 1093-1101. 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06625.x

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Some Lyman continuum photons are likely to escape from most galaxies, and these can play an important role in ionizing gas around and between galaxies, including gas that gives rise to Lyman-alpha absorption. Thus the gas surrounding galaxies and in the intergalactic medium will be exposed to varying amounts of ionizing radiation depending upon the distances, orientations and luminosities of any nearby galaxies. The ionizing background can be recalculated at any point within a simulation by adding the flux from the galaxies to a uniform quasar contribution. Normal galaxies are found to almost always make some contribution to the ionizing background radiation at a redshift of zero, as seen by absorbers and at random points in space. Assuming that ∼2 per cent of ionizing photons escape from a galaxy such as the Milky Way, we find that normal galaxies make a contribution of at least 30–40 per cent of the assumed quasar background. Lyman-alpha absorbers with a wide range of neutral column densities are found to be exposed to a wide range of ionization rates, although the distribution of photoionization rates for absorbers is found to be strongly peaked. On average, fewer highly ionized absorbers are found to arise further from luminous galaxies, while local fluctuations in the ionization rate are seen around galaxies having a wide range of properties.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: intergalactic medium; quasars: absorption lines; galaxies: structure; diffuse radiation
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0035-8711
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 03:17

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