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Title: Measurement of the small-scale structure of the intergalactic medium using close quasar pairs

The distribution of diffuse gas in the intergalactic medium (IGM) imprints a series of hydrogen absorption lines on the spectra of distant background quasars known as the Lyman-α forest. Cosmological hydrodynamical simulations predict that IGM density fluctuations are suppressed below a characteristic scale where thermal pressure balances gravity. We measured this pressure-smoothing scale by quantifying absorption correlations in a sample of close quasar pairs. We compared our measurements to hydrodynamical simulations, where pressure smoothing is determined by the integrated thermal history of the IGM. Lastly, our findings are consistent with standard models for photoionization heating by the ultraviolet radiation backgrounds that reionized the universe.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ; ORCiD logo [5] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [6] ; ORCiD logo [7]
  1. Inst. of Astronomy, Cambridge (United Kingdom); Max-Planck-Inst. fur Astronomie, Konigstuhl (Germany)
  2. Max-Planck-Inst. fur Astronomie, Konigstuhl (Germany); Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics
  3. Max-Planck-Inst. fur Astronomie, Konigstuhl (Germany)
  4. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Astronomy; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  5. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, CA (United States). Lick Observatory
  6. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  7. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Astronomy
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; AST-1010004
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 356; Journal Issue: 6336; Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075
Publisher:
AAAS
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS
OSTI Identifier:
1441051
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1393226