AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 43. Forming and Probing Large Scale Structure
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[43.06] Prospects for observing the first sources of ionizing radiation with narrow band imaging systems

L. Lesyna (LXL Technology), R.P. Barrett (Lockheed Martin ATC), G. Rieke (U. of Arizona), L.A. Ryder (Lockheed Martin ATC), S. Satyapal (George Mason U.)

The nature and era of the first sources responsible for reionizing the universe prior to z=6 remain unknown. Quasars or Population III star clusters have been identified as candidates for controlling the transparency of the intergalactic medium. Imaging the recombination lines of Ly-alpha and He II from these objects can provide information concerning the distribution and evolution of these first luminous sources in the universe. We demonstrate that detection and identification of these ionizing sources is achievable by deployment of instruments carrying low to moderate spectral resolution filters capable of imaging over arcmin sized fields of view. Ground based telescopes with multi-conjugate adaptive optics can take advantage of low dark current detectors being developed for the space-based James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), using filters to avoid atmospheric airglow. We compare the sensitivity of such systems with JWST to identify the respective detection strategies for these reionizing objects, and we discuss the technological readiness of fixed and tunable filter instrument systems.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.