Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Probing the parameters of the intergalactic medium using quasars

Dalton, Tony; Morris, Simon L; Fumagalli, Michele; Gatuzz, Efrain

Probing the parameters of the intergalactic medium using quasars Thumbnail


Tony Dalton

Michele Fumagalli

Efrain Gatuzz


We continue our series of papers on intergalactic medium (IGM) tracers using quasi-stellar objects (QSOs), having examined gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and blazars in earlier studies. We have estimated the IGM properties of hydrogen column density (⁠NHXIGM⁠), temperature, and metallicity using XMM–Newton QSO spectra over a large redshift range, with a collisional ionization equilibrium model for the ionized plasma. The NHXIGM parameter results were robust with respect to intrinsic power laws, spectral counts, reflection hump, and soft excess features. There is scope for a luminosity bias given both luminosity and NHXIGM scale with redshift, but we find this unlikely given the consistent IGM parameter results across the other tracer types reviewed. The impact of intervening high-column density absorbers was found to be minimal. The NHXIGM from the QSO sample scales as (1 + z)1.5 ± 0.2. The mean hydrogen density at z = 0 is n0 = (2.8 ± 0.3) × 10−7 cm−3, the mean IGM temperature over the full redshift range is log(T/K) =6.5 ± 0.1, and the mean metallicity is [X/H] = −1.3 ± 0.1(Z ∼ 0.05). Aggregating with our previous GRB and blazar tracers, we conclude that we have provided evidence of the IGM contributing substantially and consistently to the total X-ray absorption seen in the spectra. These results are based on the necessarily simplistic slab model used for the IGM, due to the inability of current X-ray data to constrain the IGM redshift distribution.


Dalton, T., Morris, S. L., Fumagalli, M., & Gatuzz, E. (2022). Probing the parameters of the intergalactic medium using quasars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 513(1), 822-834.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jun 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2022
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 513
Issue 1
Pages 822-834


Published Journal Article (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations