Astraeus - III. The environment and physical properties of reionization sources

Anne Hutter*, Pratika Dayal, Laurent Legrand, Stefan Gottlöber, Gustavo Yepes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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In this work, we use the ASTRAEUS (seminumerical rAdiative tranSfer coupling of galaxy formaTion and Reionization in Nbody dArk mattEr simUlationS) framework that couples galaxy formation and reionization in the first billion years. Exploring a number of models for reionization feedback and the escape fraction of ionizing radiation from the galactic environment (fesc), we quantify how the contribution of star-forming galaxies (with halo masses Mh > 108.2 M☉) to reionization depends on the radiative feedback model, fesc, and the environmental overdensity. Our key findings are: (i) for constant fesc models, intermediate-mass galaxies (with halo masses of Mh ≃ 109−11 M☉ and absolute UV magnitudes of MUV ∼ −15 to −20) in intermediate-density regions (with overdensity log10(1 + δ) ∼ 0−0.8 on a 2 comoving Mpc spatial scale) drive reionization; (ii) scenarios where fesc increases with decreasing halo mass shift, the galaxy population driving reionization to lower mass galaxies (Mh ≲ 109.5 M☉) with lower luminosities (MUV ≳ −16) and overdensities [log10(1 + δ) ∼ 0−0.5 on a 2 comoving Mpc spatial scale]; (iii) reionization imprints its topology on the ionizing emissivity of low-mass galaxies (Mh ≲ 109 M☉] through radiative feedback. Low-mass galaxies experience a stronger suppression of star formation by radiative feedback and show lower ionizing emissivities in overdense regions; (iv) a change in fesc with galaxy properties has the largest impact on the sources of reionization and their detectability, with the radiative feedback strength and environmental overdensity playing a sub-dominant role; (v) James Webb Space Telescope-surveys (with a limiting magnitude of MUV = −16) will be able to detect the galaxies providing ∼60−70 per cent (∼10 per cent) of reionization photons at z = 7 for constant fesc models (scenarios where fesc increases with decreasing halo mass).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2021


  • Dark ages
  • First stars
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Intergalactic medium
  • Methods: numerical
  • Reionization

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