Spectral shape of the UV ionizing background and He II absorption at redshifts 1.8 < z < 2.9
Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Physics and Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California, San Diego, MS 0424, La Jolla, CA 92093-0424, USA
3 MIT Center for Space Research, 77 Massachusetts Ave, 37-664B, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
4 Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Accepted: 10 October 2006
Aims.The shape of the UV ionizing background is reconstructed from optically thin metal absorption-line systems identified in spectra of HE 2347–4342, Q 1157+3143, and HS 1700+6416 in the redshift interval .
Methods.The systems are analyzed by means of the Monte Carlo Inversion method completed with the spectral shape recovering procedure.
Results.The UVB spectral shape fluctuates at mostly due to radiative transfer processes in the clumpy IGM. At , the IGM becomes almost transparent both in the and Lyman continua and the variability of the spectral shape comes from diversity of spectral indices describing the QSO/AGN intrinsic radiation. At , the recovered spectral shapes show intensity depression between 3 and 4 Ryd due to Lyα absorption in the IGM clouds (line blanketing) and continuous medium (true Gunn-Petersen effect). The mean Lyα opacity estimated from the depth of this depression corresponds within 1-2σ to the values directly measured from the / Lyα forest towards the quasars studied. The observed scatter in ()/N() and anti-correlation between N() and η can be explained by the combined action of variable spectral softness and differences in the mean gas density between the absorbing clouds. Neither of the recovered spectral shapes show features which can be attributed to the putative input of radiation from soft sources like starburst galaxies.
Key words: cosmology: observations / line: formation / line: profiles / quasars: absorption lines / quasars: general / cosmology: diffuse radiation
© ESO, 2007