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  1. Abstract Becker et al. measured the mean free path of Lyman-limit photons in the intergalactic medium (IGM) at z = 6. The short value suggests that absorptions may have played a prominent role in reionization. Here we study physical properties of ionizing photon sinks in the wake of ionization fronts (I-fronts) using radiative hydrodynamic simulations. We quantify the contributions of gaseous structures to the Lyman-limit opacity by tracking the column-density distributions in our simulations. Within Δ t = 10 Myr of I-front passage, we find that self-shielding systems ( N H I > 10 17.2 cm −2 ) are comprised of two distinct populations: (1) overdensity Δ ∼ 50 structures in photoionization equilibrium with the ionizing background, and (2) Δ ≳ 100 density peaks with fully neutral cores. The self-shielding systems contribute more than half of the opacity at these times, but the IGM evolves considerably in Δ t ∼ 100 Myr as structures are flattened by pressure smoothing and photoevaporation. By Δ t = 300 Myr, they contribute ≲10% to the opacity in an average 1 Mpc 3 patch of the universe. The percentage can be a factor of a few larger in overdense patches, where more self-shielding systemsmore »survive. We quantify the characteristic masses and sizes of self-shielding structures. Shortly after I-front passage, we find M = 10 4 –10 8 M ⊙ and effective diameters d eff = 1–20 ckpc h −1 . These scales increase as the gas relaxes. The picture herein presented may be different in dark matter models with suppressed small-scale power.« less
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  3. The type Ia supernova (SN) 2012fr displayed an unusual combination of its Si II λλ5972, 6355 features. This includes the ratio of their pseudo-equivalent widths, placing it at the border of the shallow silicon (SS) and core normal (CN) spectral subtype in the Branch diagram, while the Si II λ6355 expansion velocities place it as a high-velocity (HV) object in the Wang et al. spectral type that most interestingly evolves slowly, placing it in the low-velocity gradient (LVG) typing of Benetti et al. Only 5% of SNe Ia are HV and located in the SS+CN portion of the Branch diagram, and fewer than 10% of SNe Ia are both HV and LVG. These features point toward SN 2012fr being quite unusual, similar in many ways to the peculiar SN 2000cx. We modeled the spectral evolution of SN 2012fr to see if we could gain some insight into its evolutionary behavior. We use the parameterized radiative transfer code SYNOW to probe the abundance stratification of SN 2012fr at pre-maximum, maximum, and post-maximum light epochs. We also use a grid of W7 models in the radiative transfer code PHOENIX to probe the effect of different density structures on the formation of themore »Si II λ6355 absorption feature at post-maximum epochs. We find that the unusual features observed in SN 2012fr are likely due to a shell-like density enhancement in the outer ejecta. We comment on possible reasons for atypical Ca II absorption features, and suggest that they are related to the Si II features. This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Baade Telescope, located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.« less