A New Precision Measurement of the Small-Scale Line-of-Sight Power Spectrum of the Lyα Forest [CEA]


We present a new measurement of the Ly{\alpha} forest power spectrum at $1.8 < z < 3.4$ using 74 Keck/HIRES and VLT/UVES high-resolution, high-S/N quasar spectra. We developed a custom pipeline to measure the power spectrum and its uncertainty, which fully accounts for finite resolution and noise, and corrects for the bias induced by masking missing data, DLAs, and metal absorption lines. Our measurement results in unprecedented precision on the small-scale modes $k > 0.02\,\mathrm{s\,km^{-1}}$, unaccessible to previous SDSS/BOSS analyses. It is well known that these high-$k$ modes are highly sensitive to the thermal state of the intergalactic medium, however contamination by narrow metal lines is a significant concern. We quantify the effect of metals on the small-scale power, and find a modest effect on modes with $k < 0.1\,\mathrm{s\,km^{-1}} $. As a result, by masking metals and restricting to $k < 0.1\,\mathrm{s\,km^{-1}}$ their impact is completely mitigated. We present an end-to-end Bayesian forward modeling framework whereby mock spectra with the same noise, resolution, and masking as our data are generated from Ly{\alpha} forest simulations. These mocks are used to build a custom emulator, enabling us to interpolate between a sparse grid of models and perform MCMC fits. Our results agree well with BOSS on scales $k < 0.02\,\mathrm{s\,km^{-1}}$ where the measurements overlap. The combination of BOSS’ percent level low-$k$ precision with our $5-15\%$ high-$k$ measurements, results in a powerful new dataset for precisely constraining the thermal history of the intergalactic medium, cosmological parameters, and the nature of dark matter. The power spectra and their covariance matrices are provided as electronic tables.

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M. Walther, J. Hennawi, H. Hiss, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 24 pages, 12 figures, submitted to ApJ, machine readable tables will be made available after publication in the journal

Model-independent Constraints on Cosmic Curvature and Opacity [CEA]


In this paper, we propose to estimate the spatial curvature of the universe and the cosmic opacity in a model-independent way with expansion rate measurements, $H(z)$, and type Ia supernova (SNe Ia). On the one hand, using a nonparametric smoothing method Gaussian process, we reconstruct a function $H(z)$ from opacity-free expansion rate measurements. Then, we integrate the $H(z)$ to obtain distance modulus $\mu_{\rm H}$, which is dependent on the cosmic curvature. On the other hand, distances of SNe Ia can be determined by their photometric observations and thus are opacity-dependent. In our analysis, by confronting distance moduli $\mu_{\rm H}$ with those obtained from SNe Ia, we achieve estimations for both the spatial curvature and the cosmic opacity without any assumptions for the cosmological model. Here, it should be noted that light curve fitting parameters, accounting for the distance estimation of SNe Ia, are determined in a global fit together with the cosmic opacity and spatial curvature to get rid of the dependence of these parameters on cosmology. In addition, we also investigate whether the inclusion of different priors for the present expansion rate ($H_0$: global estimation, $67.74\pm 0.46~\rm km~ s^{-1} ~Mpc^{-1}$, and local measurement, $73.24\pm 1.74~\rm km~ s^{-1} ~Mpc^{-1}$) exert influence on the reconstructed $H(z)$ and the following estimations of the spatial curvature and cosmic opacity. Results show that, in general, a spatially flat and transparent universe is preferred by the observations. Moreover, it is suggested that priors for $H_0$ matter a lot. Finally, we find that there is a strong degeneracy between the curvature and the opacity.

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G. Wang, J. Wei, Z. Li, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 7 pages, 3 figures and 2 tables

HI Intensity Mapping with MeerKAT [CEA]


We explore the possibility of performing an HI intensity mapping survey with the South African MeerKAT radio telescope, which is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). We propose to use cross-correlations between the MeerKAT intensity mapping survey and optical galaxy surveys, in order to mitigate systematic effects and produce robust cosmological measurements. Our forecasts show that precise measurements of the HI signal can be made in the near future. These can be used to constrain HI and cosmological parameters across a wide range of redshift.

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A. Pourtsidou
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 6 pages, 2 figures; Submitted to the Proceedings of Science, “MeerKAT Science: On the Pathway to the SKA”, Stellenbosch, 25-27 May 2016

Emulating galaxy clustering and galaxy-galaxy lensing into the deeply nonlinear regime: methodology, information, and forecasts [CEA]


The combination of galaxy-galaxy lensing (GGL) with galaxy clustering is one of the most promising routes to determining the amplitude of matter clustering at low redshifts. We show that extending clustering+GGL analyses from the linear regime down to $\sim 0.5 \, h^{-1}$ Mpc scales increases their constraining power considerably, even after marginalizing over a flexible model of non-linear galaxy bias. Using a grid of cosmological N-body simulations, we construct a Taylor-expansion emulator that predicts the galaxy autocorrelation $\xi_{\text{gg}}(r)$ and galaxy-matter cross-correlation $\xi_{\text{gm}}(r)$ as a function of $\sigma_8$, $\Omega_m$, and halo occupation distribution (HOD) parameters, which are allowed to vary with large scale environment to represent possible effects of galaxy assembly bias. We present forecasts for a fiducial case that corresponds to BOSS LOWZ galaxy clustering and SDSS-depth weak lensing (effective source density $\sim 0.3$ arcmin$^{-2}$). Using tangential shear and projected correlation function measurements over $0.5 \leq r_p \leq 30 \, h^{-1}$ Mpc yields a 1.8% constraint on the parameter combination $\sigma_8\Omega_m^{0.58}$, a factor of two better than a constraint that excludes non-linear scales ($r_p > 2 \, h^{-1}$ Mpc, $4 \, h^{-1}$ Mpc for $\gamma_t,w_p$). Much of this improvement comes from the non-linear clustering information, which breaks degeneracies among HOD parameters that would otherwise degrade the inference of matter clustering from GGL. Increasing the effective source density to $3$ arcmin$^{-2}$ sharpens the constraint on $\sigma_8\Omega_m^{0.58}$ by a further factor of two. With robust modeling into the non-linear regime, low-redshift measurements of matter clustering at the 1-percent level with clustering+GGL alone are well within reach of current data sets such as those provided by the Dark Energy Survey.

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B. Wibking, A. Salcedo, D. Weinberg, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 23 pages, 7 figures

Deconvolving the Wedge: Maximum-Likelihood Power Spectra via Spherical-Wave Visibility Modeling [CEA]


Direct detection of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) via the red-shifted 21-cm line will have unprecedented implications on the study of structure formation in the infant Universe. To fulfill this promise, current and future 21-cm experiments need to detect this weak EoR signal in the presence of foregrounds that are several orders of magnitude larger. This requires extreme noise control and improved wide-field high dynamic-range imaging techniques. We propose a new imaging method based on a maximum likelihood framework which solves for the interferometric equation directly on the sphere, or equivalently in the $uvw$-domain. The method uses the one-to-one relation between spherical waves and spherical harmonics (SpH). It consistently handles signals from the entire sky, and does not require a $w$-term correction. The spherical-harmonics coefficients represent the sky-brightness distribution and the visibilities in the $uvw$-domain, and provide a direct estimate of the spatial power spectrum. Using these spectrally-smooth SpH coefficients, bright foregrounds can be removed from the signal, including their side-lobe noise, which is one of the limiting factors in high dynamics range wide-field imaging. Chromatic effects causing the so-called “wedge” are effectively eliminated (i.e. deconvolved) in the cylindrical ($k_{\perp}, k_{\parallel}$) power spectrum, compared to a power spectrum computed directly from the images of the foreground visibilities where the wedge is clearly present. We illustrate our method using simulated LOFAR observations, finding an excellent reconstruction of the input EoR signal with minimal bias.

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A. Ghosh, F. Mertens and L. Koopmans
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS

Detection of Two New Bound Violating Galaxy Groups [CEA]


A detection of two new occurrences of the bound-limit violation on the galaxy group scale is reported. From the Tenth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we first select as candidates those isolated galaxy groups at redshifts $z\le 0.05$ in the mass range of [$0.3$-$1$]$\times10^{14}\,h^{-1}M_{\odot}$ with their nearest neighbor groups at distances larger than fiften times their virial radii. Then, we search for a gravitationally interacting web-like structure that would manifest itself as an inclined streak pattern in the anisotropic spatial distribution of the field galaxies located in the neighbor zone around each candidate group. Out of $59$ candidate groups, only seven are found to possess such bound-zone web-like structures, one of which turns out to be NGC 5353/4, which was already found in the previous work as a bound violating group and thus excluded from the current analysis. Applying the Turn-around Radius Estimator algorithm devised by Lee et al. to the identified web-like structures of the remaining six target groups, we estimate their turn-around radii and show that two out of the six targets violate not only the spherical but also the nonspherical bound limit set by the Planck cosmology. Possible causes for the observed occurrence of the bound-limit violation on the group scale are discussed.

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J. Lee
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: submitted for publication in ApJ, 22 figures, 1 table

Particle number dependence in the non-linear evolution of N-body self-gravitating systems [CEA]


Simulations of purely self-gravitating N-body systems are often used in astrophysics and cosmology to study the collisionless limit of such systems. Their results for macroscopic quantities should then converge well for sufficiently large N. Using a study of the evolution from a simple space of spherical initial conditions – including a region characterised by so-called “radial orbit instability” – we illustrate that the values of N at which such convergence is obtained can vary enormously. In the family of initial conditions we study, good convergence can be obtained up to a few dynamical times with N $ \sim 10^3$ – just large enough to suppress two body relaxation – for certain initial conditions, while in other cases such convergence is not attained at this time even in our largest simulations with N $\sim 10^5$. The qualitative difference is due to the stability properties of fluctuations introduced by the N-body discretisation, of which the initial amplitude depends on N. We discuss briefly why the crucial role which such fluctuations can potentially play in the evolution of the N-body system could, in particular, constitute a serious problem in cosmological simulations of dark matter.

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D. Benhaiem, M. Joyce, F. Labini, et. al.
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: 8 pages, 5 figures; to appear in MNRAS