skip to main content

Title: JWST Constraints on the UV Luminosity Density at Cosmic Dawn: Implications for 21 cm Cosmology

An unprecedented array of new observational capabilities are starting to yield key constraints on models of the epoch of first light in the Universe. In this Letter we discuss the implications of the UV radiation background at cosmic dawn inferred by recent JWST observations for radio experiments aimed at detecting the redshifted 21 cm hyperfine transition of diffuse neutral hydrogen. Under the basic assumption that the 21 cm signal is activated by the Lyαphoton field produced by metal-poor stellar systems, we show that a detection at the low frequencies of the EDGES and SARAS3 experiments may be expected from a simple extrapolation of the declining UV luminosity density inferred atz≲ 14 from JWST early galaxy data. Accounting for an early radiation excess above the cosmic microwave background suggests a shallower or flat evolution to simultaneously reproduce low- and high-zcurrent UV luminosity density constraints, which cannot be entirely ruled out, given the large uncertainties from cosmic variance and the faint-end slope of the galaxy luminosity function at cosmic dawn. Our findings raise the intriguing possibility that a high star formation efficiency at early times may trigger the onset of intense Lyαemission at redshiftz≲ 20 and produce a cosmic 21 cm absorption signal 200 Myr after the Big Bang.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. L3
["Article No. L3"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    The formation of the first galaxies during cosmic dawn and reionization (at redshifts z = 5–30), triggered the last major phase transition of our universe, as hydrogen evolved from cold and neutral to hot and ionized. The 21-cm line of neutral hydrogen will soon allow us to map these cosmic milestones and study the galaxies that drove them. To aid in interpreting these observations, we upgrade the publicly available code 21cmFAST. We introduce a new, flexible parametrization of the additive feedback from: an inhomogeneous, H2-dissociating (Lyman–Werner; LW) background; and dark matter – baryon relative velocities; which recovers results from recent, small-scale hydrodynamical simulations with both effects. We perform a large, ‘best-guess’ simulation as the 2021 installment of the Evolution of 21-cm Structure (EOS) project. This improves the previous release with a galaxy model that reproduces the observed UV luminosity functions (UVLFs), and by including a population of molecular-cooling galaxies. The resulting 21-cm global signal and power spectrum are significantly weaker, primarily due to a more rapid evolution of the star formation rate density required to match the UVLFs. Nevertheless, we forecast high signal-to-noise detections for both HERA and the SKA. We demonstrate how the stellar-to-halo mass relation of the unseen, first galaxies can be inferred from the 21-cm evolution. Finally, we show that the spatial modulation of X-ray heating due to relative velocities provides a unique acoustic signature that is detectable at z ≈ 10–15 in our fiducial model. Ours are the first public simulations with joint inhomogeneous LW and relative-velocity feedback across the entire cosmic dawn and reionization, and we make them available at this link

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    It has been claimed that traditional models struggle to explain the tentative detection of the 21 cm absorption trough centered atz∼ 17 measured by the EDGES collaboration. On the other hand, it has been shown that the EDGES results are consistent with an extrapolation of a declining UV luminosity density, following a simple power law of deep Hubble Space Telescope observations of 4 <z< 9 galaxies. We here explore the conditions by which the EDGES detection is consistent with current reionization and post-reionization observations, including the neutral hydrogen fraction atz∼ 6–8, Thomson-scattering optical depth, and ionizing emissivity atz∼ 5. By coupling a physically motivated source model derived from radiative transfer hydrodynamic simulations of reionization to a Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampler, we find that it is entirely possible to reconcile existing high-redshift (cosmic dawn) and low-redshift (reionization) constraints. In particular, we find that high contributions from low-mass halos along with high photon escape fractions are required to simultaneously reproduce cosmic dawn and reionization constraints. Our analysis further confirms that low-mass galaxies produce a flatter emissivity evolution, which leads to an earlier onset of reionization with a gradual and longer duration, resulting in a higher optical depth. While the models dominated by faint galaxies successfully reproduce the measured globally averaged quantities over the first one billion years, they underestimate the late redshift-instantaneous measurements in efficiently star-forming and massive systems. We show that our (simple) physically motivated semianalytical prescription produces results that are consistent with the (sophisticated) state-of-the-artTHESANradiation-magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the reionization.

    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT We present an updated model of the cosmic ionizing background from the UV to the X-rays. Relative to our previous model, the new model provides a better match to a large number of up-to-date empirical constraints, including: (1) new galaxy and AGN luminosity functions; (2) stellar spectra including binary stars; (3) obscured and unobscured AGN; (4) a measurement of the non-ionizing UV background; (5) measurements of the intergalactic H i and He ii photoionization rates at z ∼ 0−6; (6) the local X-ray background; and (7) improved measurements of the intergalactic opacity. In this model, AGN dominate the H i ionizing background at z ≲ 3 and star-forming galaxies dominate it at higher redshifts. Combined with the steeply declining AGN luminosity function beyond z ∼ 2, the slow evolution of the H i ionization rate inferred from the high-redshift H i Ly α forest requires an escape fraction from star-forming galaxies that increases with redshift (a population-averaged escape fraction of $\approx 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ suffices to ionize the intergalactic medium at z = 3 when including the contribution from AGN). We provide effective photoionization and photoheating rates calibrated to match the Planck 2018 reionization optical depth and recent constraints from the He ii Ly α forest in hydrodynamic simulations. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Line-intensity mapping (IM) experiments seek to perform statistical measurements of large-scale structure with spectral lines such as 21 cm, CO, and Lyα. A challenge in these observations is to ensure that astrophysical foregrounds, such as galactic synchrotron emission in 21 cm measurements, are properly removed. One method that has the potential to reduce foreground contamination is to cross correlate with a galaxy survey that overlaps with the IM volume. However, telescopes sensitive to high-redshift galaxies typically have small field of views compared to IM surveys. Thus, a galaxy survey for cross correlation would necessarily consist of pencil beams that sparsely fill the IM volume. In this paper, we develop the formalism to forecast the sensitivity of cross correlations between IM experiments and pencil-beam galaxy surveys. We find that a random distribution of pencil beams leads to very similar overall sensitivity as a lattice spaced across the IM survey and derive a simple formula for random configurations that agrees with the Fisher matrix formalism. We explore examples of combining high-redshift James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observations with both an SPHEREx-like LyαIM survey and a 21 cm experiment based on the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA). We find that the JWST-SPHEREx case is promising, leading to a total signal-to-noise ratio of ∼5 after 100 total hours of JWST (atz= 7). We find that HERA is not well-suited for this approach owing to its drift-scan strategy, but that a similar experiment that can integrate down on one field could be.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    We report the discovery of an accreting supermassive black hole atz= 8.679. This galaxy, denoted here as CEERS_1019, was previously discovered as a Lyα-break galaxy by Hubble with a Lyαredshift from Keck. As part of the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) survey, we have observed this source with JWST/NIRSpec, MIRI, NIRCam, and NIRCam/WFSS and uncovered a plethora of emission lines. The Hβline is best fit by a narrow plus a broad component, where the latter is measured at 2.5σwith an FWHM ∼1200 km s−1. We conclude this originates in the broadline region of an active galactic nucleus (AGN). This is supported by the presence of weak high-ionization lines (N V, N IV], and C III]), as well as a spatial point-source component. The implied mass of the black hole (BH) is log (MBH/M) = 6.95 ± 0.37, and we estimate that it is accreting at 1.2 ± 0.5 times the Eddington limit. The 1–8μm photometric spectral energy distribution shows a continuum dominated by starlight and constrains the host galaxy to be massive (log M/M∼9.5) and highly star-forming (star formation rate, or SFR ∼ 30 Myr−1; log sSFR ∼ − 7.9 yr−1). The line ratios show that the gas is metal-poor (Z/Z∼ 0.1), dense (ne∼ 103cm−3), and highly ionized (logU∼ − 2.1). We use this present highest-redshift AGN discovery to place constraints on BH seeding models and find that a combination of either super-Eddington accretion from stellar seeds or Eddington accretion from very massive BH seeds is required to form this object.

    more » « less