Extracting HI Astrophysics from Interferometric Intensity Mapping

Zhaoting Chen, Laura Wolz, Marta Spinelli, Steven G. Murray

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We present a new halo model of neutral hydrogen (HI) calibrated to galaxy formation simulations at redshifts $z\sim0.1$ and $z\sim1.0$ that we employ to investigate the constraining power of interferometric HI intensity mapping on HI astrophysics. We demonstrate that constraints on the small-scale HI power spectrum can break the degeneracy between the HI density $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ and the HI bias $b_{\rm HI}$. For $z\sim0.1$, we forecast that an accurate measurement of $\Omega_{\rm HI}$ up to 6% level precision and the large-scale HI bias $b_{\rm HI}^0$ up to 1% level precision can be achieved using Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder data from MeerKAT and Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP). We also propose a new description of the HI shot noise in the halo model framework in which a scatter of the relation between the HI mass of galaxies and their host halo mass is taken into account. Furthermore, given the number density of HI galaxies above a certain HI mass threshold, future surveys will also be able to constrain the HI mass function using only the HI shot noise. This will lead to constraints at the 10% level using the standard Schechter function. This technique will potentially provide a new way of measuring the HI Mass Function, independent from existing methods. We predict that the SKA will be able to further improve the low-redshift constraints by a factor of 3, as well as pioneering measurements of HI astrophysics at higher redshifts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5259-5276
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • radio lines: general
  • techniques: interferometric


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