The influence of large-scale density fluctuations on structure formation on small scales is described by the three-point correlation function (bispectrum) in the so-called “squeezed configurations,” in which one wavenumber, say $k_3$, is much smaller than the other two, i.e., $k_3\ll k_1\approx k_2$. This bispectrum is generated by non-linear gravitational evolution and possibly also by inflationary physics. In this paper, we use this fact to show that the bispectrum in the squeezed configurations can be measured without employing three-point function estimators. Specifically, we use the “position-dependent power spectrum,” i.e., the power spectrum measured in smaller subvolumes of the survey (or simulation box), and correlate it with the mean overdensity of the corresponding subvolume. This correlation directly measures an integral of the bispectrum dominated by the squeezed configurations. Measuring this correlation is only slightly more complex than measuring the power spectrum itself, and sidesteps the considerable complexity of the full bispectrum estimation. We use cosmological $N$-body simulations of collisionless particles with Gaussian initial conditions to show that the measured correlation between the position-dependent power spectrum and the long-wavelength overdensity agrees with the theoretical expectation. The position-dependent power spectrum thus provides a new, efficient, and promising way to measure the squeezed-limit bispectrum from large-scale structure observations such as galaxy redshift surveys.
C. Chiang, C. Wagner, F. Schmidt, et. al.
Mon, 17 Mar 14