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Title: COMPLETE IONIZATION OF THE NEUTRAL GAS: WHY THERE ARE SO FEW DETECTIONS OF 21 cm HYDROGEN IN HIGH-REDSHIFT RADIO GALAXIES AND QUASARS

From the first published z {approx}> 3 survey of 21 cm absorption within the hosts of radio galaxies and quasars, Curran et al. found an apparent dearth of cool neutral gas at high redshift. From a detailed analysis of the photometry, each object is found to have a {lambda} = 1216 A continuum luminosity in excess of L {sub 1216} {approx} 10{sup 23} W Hz{sup -1}, a critical value above which 21 cm has never been detected at any redshift. At these wavelengths, and below, hydrogen is excited above the ground state so that it cannot absorb in 21 cm. In order to apply the equation of photoionization equilibrium, we demonstrate that this critical value also applies to the ionizing ({lambda} {<=} 912 A) radiation. We use this to show, for a variety of gas density distributions, that upon placing a quasar within a galaxy of gas, there is always an ultraviolet luminosity above which all of the large-scale atomic gas is ionized. While in this state, the hydrogen cannot be detected or engage in star formation. Applying the mean ionizing photon rate of all of the sources searched, we find, using canonical values for the gas density and recombinationmore » rate coefficient, that the observed critical luminosity gives a scale length (3 kpc) similar that of the neutral hydrogen (H I) in the Milky Way, a large spiral galaxy. Thus, this simple yet physically motivated model can explain the critical luminosity (L {sub 912} {approx} L {sub 1216} {approx} 10{sup 23} W Hz{sup -1}), above which neutral gas is not detected. This indicates that the non-detection of 21 cm absorption is not due to the sensitivity limits of current radio telescopes, but rather that the lines of sight to the quasars, and probably the bulk of the host galaxies, are devoid of neutral gas.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 (Australia)
  2. CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, P.O. Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710 (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22086398
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 759; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; ASTROPHYSICS; COSMIC PHOTONS; COSMOLOGY; GROUND STATES; HYDROGEN; LUMINOSITY; MILKY WAY; PHOTOIONIZATION; PHOTOMETRY; QUASARS; RADIO GALAXIES; RADIO TELESCOPES; RADIOASTRONOMY; RECOMBINATION; RED SHIFT; SENSITIVITY; STARS; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; UNIVERSE