Title
The galaxies that reionized the Universe The galaxies that reionized the Universe
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
Physics
Source (journal)
Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. - Oxford
Volume/pages
410(2011) :2 , p. 775-787
ISSN
0035-8711
ISI
000285766000005
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The Durham galform semi-analytical galaxy formation model has been shown to reproduce the observed rest-frame 1500-Å luminosity function of galaxies well over the whole redshift range z= 510. We show that in this model, this galaxy population also emits enough ionizing photons to reionize the Universe by redshift z= 10, assuming a modest escape fraction of 20 per cent. The bulk of the ionizing photons is produced in faint galaxies during starbursts triggered by galaxy mergers. The bursts introduce a dispersion up to ∼5 dex in galaxy-ionizing luminosity at a given halo mass. Almost 90 per cent of the ionizing photons emitted at z= 10 are from galaxies below the current observational detection limit at that redshift. Photoionization suppression of star formation in these galaxies is unlikely to affect this conclusion significantly, because the gas that fuels the starbursts has already cooled out of their host haloes. The galaxies that dominate the ionizing emissivity at z= 10 are faint, with M1500,AB∼−16, have low star formation rates, inline image−1, and reside in haloes of mass M∼ 109 h−1 M⊙.
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