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The First Galaxies in the Universe$
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Abraham Loeb and Steven R. Furlanetto

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144917

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144917.001.0001

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The Lyman-α‎ Line as a Probe of the Early Universe

The Lyman-α‎ Line as a Probe of the Early Universe

(p.367) Chapter Eleven The Lyman-α‎ Line as a Probe of the Early Universe
The First Galaxies in the Universe

Abraham Loeb

Steven R. Furlanetto

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates a number of specific observational probes of the high-redshift Universe. It examines the Lyman-α‎ line, an extraordinarily rich and useful—albeit complex—probe of both galaxies and the intergalactic medium (IGM). As established in the previous chapter, young star-forming galaxies can produce very bright Lyman-α‎ emissions. Although the radiative transfer of these photons through their host galaxies is typically very complex, a good starting point is a simple model in which a fraction of stellar ionizing photons are absorbed within their source galaxy, forming embedded H II regions. The resulting protons and electrons then recombine, producing Lyman-α‎ photons. Assuming ionization equilibrium, the rate of these recombinations must equal the rate at which ionizing photons are produced.

Keywords:   Lyman-α‎ line, observational probes, high-redshift galaxies, Lyman-α‎ emissions, Lyman-α‎ photons, star-forming galaxies, reionization, intergalactic medium

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