The Temperature of Hot Gas in the Universe

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Eiichiro Komatsu; Yi-Kuan Chiang; Ryu Makiya; Brice Ménard


How hot is the Universe today? How hot was it before? We report on the result of the observational determination of the mean temperature of hot gas in the Universe. We find that the mean gas temperature has increased ten times over the last 8 billion years, to reach about 2 million Kelvin today. As cosmic structures form, matter density fluctuations collapse gravitationally and baryonic matter is shock-heated and thermalized. We therefore expect a connection between the mean gravitational potential energy of collapsed halos and the mean thermal energy of baryons. Our result provides quantitative verification of such a connection via cosmic shock-heating.

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