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Current data of high-redshift absorption-line systems imply that hydrogen reionization occurred before redshifts of about 5. Previous works on reionization by the first stars or quasars have shown that such scenarios are described by a large number of cosmological and astrophysical parameters. Here we adopt a semianalytic model of stellar reionization in order to quantify how the optical depth to reionization depends on such parameters, and combine this with constraints from the cosmic microwave background (CMB). We find this approach to be particularly useful in alleviating the well-known degeneracy in CMB parameter extraction between the optical depth to reionization and the amplitude of the primordial power spectrum, due to the complementary information from the reionization model. We also examine translating independent limits on astrophysical parameters into those on cosmological parameters, or, conversely, how improved determinations of cosmological parameters can constrain astrophysical unknowns.


Copyright 2000 American Astronomical Society.

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