The 21-cm bispectrum as a probe of non-Gaussianities due to X-ray heating

Watkinson, Catherine A, Giri, Sambit K, Ross, Hannah E, Dixon, Keri L, Iliev, Ilian T, Mellema, Garrelt and Pritchard, Jonathan R (2019) The 21-cm bispectrum as a probe of non-Gaussianities due to X-ray heating. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 482 (2). pp. 2653-2669. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

We present analysis of the normalized 21-cm bispectrum from fully-numerical simulations of intergalactic-medium heating by stellar sources and high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) during the cosmic dawn. Ly-α coupling is assumed to be saturated, we therefore probe the nature of non-Gaussianities produced by X-ray heating processes. We find the evolution of the normalized bispectrum to be very different from that of the power spectrum. It exhibits a turnover whose peak moves from large to small scales with decreasing redshift, and corresponds to the typical separation of emission regions. This characteristic scale reduces as more and more regions move into emission with time. Ultimately, small-scale fluctuations within heated regions come to dominate the normalized bispectrum, which at the end of the simulation is almost entirely driven by fluctuations in the density field. To establish how generic the qualitative evolution of the normalized bispectrum we see in the stellar + HMXB simulation is, we examine several other simulations – two fully numerical simulations that include quasi-stellar object (QSO) sources, and two with contrasting source properties produced with the semi-numerical simulation 21CMFAST. We find the qualitative evolution of the normalized bispectrum during X-ray heating to be generic, unless the sources of X-rays are, as with QSOs, less numerous and so exhibit more distinct isolated heated profiles. Assuming mitigation of foreground and instrumental effects are ultimately effective, we find that we should be sensitive to the normalized bispectrum during the epoch of heating, so long as the spin temperature has not saturated by z≈19.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: methods: statistical – intergalactic medium – dark ages, reionization, first stars – cosmology: theory
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Depositing User: Amelia Redman
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2019 08:00
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 16:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87321

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