The transverse proximity effect in quasar spectra


The intergalactic medium is kept highly photoionised by the intergalactic UV background radiation field generated by the overall population of quasars and galaxies. In the vicinity of sources of UV photons, such as luminous high-redshift quasars, the UV radiation field is enhanced due to the local source contribution. The higher degree of ionisation is visible as a reduced line density or generally as a decreased level of absorption in the Lyman alpha forest of neutral hydrogen. This so-called proximity effect has been detected with high statistical significance towards luminous quasars. If quasars radiate rather isotropically, background quasar sightlines located near foreground quasars should show a region of decreased Lyman alpha absorption close to the foreground quasar. Despite considerable effort, such a transverse proximity effect has only been detected in a few cases...
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