An updated analytic model for attenuation by the intergalactic medium

Akio K. Inoue*, Ikkoh Shimizu, Ikuru Iwata, Masayuki Tanaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Citations (Scopus)


We present an updated version of the so-called Madau model for attenuation of the radiation from distant objects by intergalactic neutral hydrogen. First, we derive the distribution function of intergalactic absorbers from the latest observational statistics of the Lyα forest, Lymanlimit systems and damped Lyα systems. The distribution function reproduces the observed redshift evolution of the Lyα depression and the mean-free path of the Lyman continuum excellently and simultaneously. We then derive a set of analytic functions describing the mean intergalactic attenuation curve for objects at z > 0.5. The new model predicts less (or more) Lyα attenuation for z ≃ 3-5 (z > 6) sources through the usual broad-band filters relative to the original Madau model. This may cause a systematic difference in the photometric redshift estimates, which is, however, still small: about 0.05. Finally, we find a more than 0.5 mag overestimation of Lyman-continuum attenuation in the original Madau model at z > 3, which causes a significant overcorrection against direct observations of the Lyman continuum of galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1805-1820
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Intergalactic medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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