Journal Article

Constraining quasar host halo masses with the strength of nearby Lyα forest absorption

Young-Rae Kim and Rupert A. C. Croft

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 1, pages 377-386
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Constraining quasar host halo masses with the strength of nearby Lyα forest absorption

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Using cosmological hydrodynamic simulations, we measure the mean transmitted flux in the Lyα forest for quasar sightlines that pass near a foreground quasar. We find that the trend of absorption with pixel quasar separation distance can be fitted using a simple power-law form including the usual correlation function parameters r0 and γ, so that . From the simulations, we find the relation between r0 and quasar host mass, and formulate this as a way to estimate quasar host dark matter halo masses, quantifying uncertainties due to cosmological and IGM parameters, and redshift errors. With this method, we examine data for ∼9000 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 5, assuming that the effect of ionizing radiation from quasars (the so-called transverse proximity effect) is unimportant (no evidence for it is seen in the data). We find that the best-fitting host halo mass for SDSS quasars with mean redshift z= 3 and absolute G-band magnitude −27.5 is log M/M= 12.68+0.81−0.67. We also use the Lyman-Break Galaxy (LBG) and Lyα forest data of Adelberger et al. in a similar fashion to constrain the halo mass of LBGs to be log10 M/M= 11.41+0.54−0.59, a factor of ∼20 lower than the bright quasars. In addition, we study the redshift distortions of the Lyα forest around quasars, using the simulations. We use the quadrupole to monopole ratio of the quasar Lyα forest correlation function as a measure of the squashing effect. We find its dependence on halo mass difficult to measure, but find that it may be useful for constraining cosmic geometry.

Keywords: galaxies: formation; galaxies: structure; cosmology: miscellaneous

Journal Article.  8092 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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