ApJ, submitted (astro-ph/0604177) Zaldarriaga
- O Zahn
- ApJ, submitted (astro-ph/0604177) Zaldarriaga
Cosmic reionization progresses as H II regions form around sources of ionizing radiation. Their average size grows continuously until they percolate and complete reionization. We demonstrate how this typical growth can be calculated around the largest, biased sources of UV emission such as quasars by further developing an analytical model based on the excursion set formalism. This approach allows us to calculate the sizes and growth of the HII regions created by the progenitors of any dark matter halo of given mass and redshift with a minimum of free parameters. Statistical variations in the size of these pre-existing HII regions are an additional source of uncertainty in the determination of very high redshift quasar properties from their observed HII region sizes. We use this model to demonstrate that the transmission gaps seen in very high redshift quasars can be understood from the radiation of only their progenitors and associated clustered small galaxies. The fit requires the epoch of overlap to be at z = 5.8±0.1. This interpretation makes the transmission gaps independent of the age of the quasars observed. If this interpretation were correct it would raise the prospects of using radio interferometers currently under construction to detect the epoch of reionization.