We present analysis of the normalised 21-cm bispectrum from fully-numerical simulations of intergalactic-medium heating by stellar sources and high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXB) during the cosmic dawn. Lyman-α coupling is assumed to be saturated, we therefore probe the nature of non-Gaussianities produced by X-ray heating processes. We find the evolution of the normalised bispectrum to be very different from that of the power spectrum. It exhibits a turnover whose peak moves from large to small scales with decreasing redshift, and corresponds to the typical separation of emission regions. This characteristic scale reduces as more and more regions move into emission with time. Ultimately, small-scale fluctuations within heated regions come to dominate the normalised bispectrum, which at the end of the simulation is almost entirely driven by fluctuations in the density field. To establish how generic the qualitative evolution of the normalised bispectrum we see in the stellar + HMXB simulation is, we examine several other simulations -two fully-numerical simulations that include QSO sources, and two with contrasting source properties produced with the semi-numerical simulation 21CMFAST . We find the qualitative evolution of the normalised bispectrum during X-ray heating to be generic, unless the sources of X-rays are, as with QSOs, less numerous and so exhibit more distinct isolated heated profiles. Assuming mitigation of foreground and instrumental effects are ultimately effective, we find that we should be sensitive to the normalised bispectrum during the epoch of heating, so long as the spin temperature has not saturated by z ≈ 19.
Upcoming observations of the 21-cm signal from the Epoch of Reionization will soon provide the first direct detection of this era. This signal is influenced by many astrophysical effects, including long range X-ray heating of the intergalactic gas. During the preceding Cosmic Dawn era the impact of this heating on the 21-cm signal is particularly prominent, especially before spin temperature saturation. We present the largest-volume (349 Mpc comoving=244 h −1 Mpc) full numerical radiative transfer simulations to date of this epoch that include the effects of helium and multi-frequency heating, both with and without X-ray sources. We show that X-ray sources contribute significantly to early heating of the neutral intergalactic medium and, hence, to the corresponding 21-cm signal. The inclusion of hard, energetic radiation yields an earlier, extended transition from absorption to emission compared to the stellar-only case. The presence of X-ray sources decreases the absolute value of the mean 21-cm differential brightness temperature. These hard sources also significantly increase the 21-cm fluctuations compared the common assumption of temperature saturation. The 21-cm differential brightness temperature power spectrum is initially boosted on large scales, before decreasing on all scales. Compared to the case of the cold, unheated intergalactic medium, the signal has lower rms fluctuations and increased non-Gaussianity, as measured by the skewness and kurtosis of the 21-cm probability distribution functions. Images of the 21-cm signal with resolution around 11 arcmin still show fluctuations well above the expected noise for deep integrations with the SKA1-Low, indicating that direct imaging of the X-ray heating epoch could be feasible.
The upcoming radio interferometer Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is expected to directly detect the redshifted 21-cm signal from the neutral hydrogen present during the Cosmic Dawn. Temperature fluctuations from X-ray heating of the neutral intergalactic medium can dominate the fluctuations in the 21-cm signal from this time. This heating depends on the abundance, clustering, and properties of the X-ray sources present, which remain highly uncertain. We present a suite of three new large-volume, 349 Mpc a side, fully numerical radiative transfer simulations including QSO-like sources, extending the work previously presented in Ross et al. (2017). The results show that our QSOs have a modest contribution to the heating budget, yet significantly impact the 21-cm signal. Initially, the power spectrum is boosted on large scales by heating from the biased QSO-like sources, before decreasing on all scales. Fluctuations from images of the 21-cm signal with resolutions corresponding to SKA1-Low at the appropriate redshifts are well above the expected noise for deep integrations, indicating that imaging could be feasible for all the X-ray source models considered. The most notable contribution of the QSOs is a dramatic increase in non-Gaussianity of the signal, as measured by the skewness and kurtosis of the 21-cm probability distribution functions. However, in the case of late Lyman-α saturation, this non-Gaussianity could be dramatically decreased particularly when heating occurs earlier. We conclude that increased non-Gaussianity is a promising signature of rare X-ray sources at this time, provided that Lyman-α saturation occurs before heating dominates the 21-cm signal.
The 21-cm signal from the Cosmic Dawn (CD) is likely to contain large fluctuations, with the most extreme astrophysical models on the verge of being ruled out by observations from radio interferometers. It is therefore vital that we understand not only the astrophysical processes governing this signal, but also other inherent processes impacting the signal itself, and in particular line-of-sight effects. Using our suite of fully numerical radiative transfer simulations, we investigate the impact on the redshifted 21-cm from the CD from one of these processes, namely the redshift-space distortions (RSDs). When RSDs are added, the resulting boost to the power spectra makes the signal more or equally detectable for our models for all redshifts, further strengthening hopes that a power spectra measurement of the CD will be possible. RSDs lead to anisotropy in the signal at the beginning and end of the CD, but not while X-ray heating is underway. The inclusion of RSDs, however, decreases detectability of the non-Gaussianity of fluctuations from inhomogeneous X-ray heating as measured by the skewness and kurtosis. On the other hand, mock observations created from all our simulations that include telescope noise corresponding to 1000 hours of observation with the Square Kilometre Array telescope show that we may be able image the CD for all heating models considered and suggest RSDs dramatically boost fluctuations coming from the inhomogeneous Ly-α background.
The upcoming radio interferometer Square Kilometre Array is expected to directly detect the redshifted 21-cm signal from the Cosmic Dawn for the first time. In this era temperature fluctuations from X-ray heating of the neutral intergalactic medium can impact this signal dramatically. Previously, in Ross et al. (2017), we presented the first large-volume, 244 h −1 Mpc=349 Mpc a side, fully numerical radiative transfer simulations of X-ray heating. This work is a follow-up where we now also consider QSO-like sources in addition to high mass X-ray binaries. Images of the two cases are clearly distinguishable at SKA1-LOW resolution and have RMS fluctuations above the expected noise. The inclusion of QSOs leads to a dramatic increase in non-Gaussianity of the signal, as measured by the skewness and kurtosis of the 21-cm signal. We conclude that this increased non-Gaussianity is a promising signature of early QSOs.
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