A local clue to the reionization of the universe

Sanchayeeta Borthakur, Timothy M. Heckman, Claus Leitherer, Roderik A. Overzier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identifying the population of galaxies that was responsible for the reionization of the universe is a long-standing quest in astronomy. We present a possible local analog that has an escape fraction of ionizing flux of 21%. Our detection confirms the existence of gaps in the neutral gas enveloping the starburst region. The candidate contains a massive yet highly compact star-forming region. The gaps are most likely created by the unusually strong winds and intense ionizing radiation produced by this extreme object. Our study also validates the indirect technique of using the residual flux in saturated low-ionization interstellar absorption lines for identifying such leaky galaxies. Because direct detection of ionizing flux is impossible at the epoch of reionization, this represents a highly valuable technique for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-219
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume346
Issue number6206
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Borthakur, S., Heckman, T. M., Leitherer, C., & Overzier, R. A. (2014). A local clue to the reionization of the universe. Science, 346(6206), 216-219. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1254214