Back to Volume
Paper: The Lyman-α Forest As a Cosmological Probe
Volume: 352, New Horizons in Astronomy: Frank N. Bash Symposium 2005
Page: 191
Authors: Viel, M.
Abstract: The Lyman-α forest consists of the absorptions produced by intervening neutral hydrogen along lines of sight to distant quasars. About 80% percent of the baryons at z > 2 are believed to reside in the filamentary structures probed by the absorptions. These intergalactic structures trace the underlying dark matter density field at scales and redshifts which cannot be probed by any other observable. After describing the essential physical aspects and a brief historical introduction, I will describe the first analytical models of the Lyman-α forest in the framework of cold dark matter scenarios. Then, I will focus on possible ways of extracting cosmological parameters from a set of observed quasar spectra, by running a grid of cosmological hydro-dynamical simulations. In particular, I will recover the linear dark matter power spectrum at z > 2 and at scales of ∼1–40 comoving Mpc. I will address the significance of the results obtained especially when combined with the larger scales measurement of the power spectrum made by WMAP, giving constraints on the power spectrum amplitude, spectral index and its running. I will critically compare all the results obtained with those of the SDSS collaboration, based on a set of more than 3000 quasars at low resolution. Several physical aspects, which could affect the constraints on cosmological parameters, will be briefly discussed: feedback effects in the form of galactic winds, metal enrichment, the thermal state of the intergalactic medium and the amplitude and nature of the ultraviolet background. Finally, I will address further improvements that could be achieved in the next few years in this field both under the observational and the theoretical sides. In particular, the perspectives of measuring the cosmic expansion using absorption lines.

Due to large images in this paper, this PDF file may take longer than usual to load.
Back to Volume