The Inhomogeneous Background of Hydrogen-Molecule Dissociating Radiation during Cosmic Reionization

Ahn, Kyungjin
Shapiro, Paul R.
Iliev, Ilian T.
Mellema, Garrelt
Pen, Ue-Li
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The first, self-consistent calculations are presented of the cosmological, H2-dissociating UV background produced during the epoch of reionization by the sources of reionization. Large-scale radiative transfer simulations of reionization trace the impact of all the ionizing starlight on the IGM from all the sources in our simulation volume down to dwarf galaxies of mass ~10^8 Msun, identified by very high-resolution N-body simulations, including the self-regulating effect of IGM photoheating on dwarf galaxy formation. The UV continuum emitted below 13.6 eV by each source is then transferred through the same IGM, attenuated by atomic H Lyman series resonance lines, to predict the evolution of the inhomogeneous radiation background in the Lyman-Werner bands of H2 between 11 and 13.6 eV. On average, the intensity of this Lyman-Werner background is found to rise to the threshold level at which dissociation suppresses H2 cooling and star formation inside minihalos, long before reionization is complete. Spatial variations in the Lyman-Werner background are found which result from the clustering of sources associated with large-scale structure formation, such that intensity fluctuations correlate with matter density fluctuations. As a result, the Lyman-Werner background rises to the threshold level for H2 suppression earlier in the vicinity of the reionization sources and their H II regions.
Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ