What can the distribution of intergalactic metals tell us about the history of cosmological enrichment?

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20 Scopus citations

Abstract

I study the relationship between the spatial distribution of intergalactic metals and the masses and ejection energies of the sources that produced them. Over a wide range of models, metal enrichment is dominated by the smallest efficient sources, as the enriched volume scales roughly as E3/5 ∼ M3/5 while the number density of sources goes as ∼M -1. In all cases, the earliest sources have the biggest impact, because fixed comoving distances correspond to smaller physical distances at higher redshifts. This means that most of the enriched volume is found around rare peaks, and intergalactic metals are naturally highly clustered. Furthermore, this clustering is so strong as to lead to a large overlap between individual bubbles. Thus the typical radius of enriched z ∼ 3 regions should be interpreted as a constraint on groupings of sources rather than the ejection radius of a typical source. Similarly, the clustering of enriched regions should be taken as a measurement of source bias rather than mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1-L4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume624
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

Keywords

  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Intergalactic medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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