Volume 561, January 2014
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||08 January 2014|
On the contribution of active galactic nuclei to reionization
Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 837 State Street, Atlanta, GA 30332-0430, USA
Received: 9 September 2013
Accepted: 27 November 2013
The electron scattering optical depth constraints on reionization suggest that there may be other sources that contribute to the ionization of hydrogen aside from observable star forming galaxies. Often the calculated value of the electron scattering optical depth, τes, falls below the measurements derived from observations of the cosmic microwave background, or an assumption about non-observable sources must be made in order to reach agreement. Here, we calculate the hydrogen ionization fraction as a function of redshift and the electron scattering optical depth from both galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN) factoring in the secondary collisional ionizations from the AGN X-ray emission. In this paper we use the most current determination of the evolving hard X-ray luminosity function and extrapolate its evolution beyond z = 6. The AGN spectral energy distributions include both UV and X-ray ionizing photons. To search for the largest possible effect, all AGNs are assumed to have λEdd = 1.0 and to be completely unobscured. The results show that AGNs produce a perturbative effect on the reionization of hydrogen and they remain in agreement with current constraints. Our calculations find the epoch of reionization still ends at z ≈ 6 and only increases the electron scattering optical depth by ~2.3% under ideal conditions. This can only be moderately increased by assuming a constant black hole mass of MBH = 105 M⊙. As a result, we conclude that there is a need for other sources beyond observable galaxies and AGNs that contribute to the reionization of hydrogen at z > 6.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: evolution / dark ages, reionization, first stars / quasars: general
© ESO, 2014
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