21-cm signatures of residual H I inside cosmic H II regions during reionization

C. A. Watkinson, A. Mesinger, J. R. Pritchard, E. Sobacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigate the impact of sinks of ionizing radiation on the reionization-era 21-cm signal, focusing on one-point statistics. We consider sinks in both the intergalactic medium and inside galaxies. At a fixed filling factor of H II regions, sinks will have two main effects on the 21-cm morphology: (i) as inhomogeneous absorbers of ionizing photons they result in smaller and more widespread cosmic H II patches; and (ii) as reservoirs of neutral gas they contribute a non-zero 21-cm signal in otherwise ionized regions. Both effects damp the contrast between neutral and ionized patches during reionization, making detection of the epoch of reionization with 21-cm interferometry more challenging. Here we systematically investigate these effects using the latest seminumerical simulations. We find that sinks dramatically suppress the peak in the redshift evolution of the variance, corresponding to the mid-point of reionization. As previously predicted, skewness changes sign at mid-point, but the fluctuations in the residual H I suppress a late-time rise. Furthermore, large levels of residual H I dramatically alter the evolution of the variance, skewness and power spectrum from that seen at lower levels. In general, the evolution of the large-scale modes provides a better, cleaner, higher signal-to-noise probe of reionization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3202-3211
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 21 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmology: theory
  • dark ages
  • first stars
  • intergalactic medium
  • methods: statistical
  • reionization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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