Baryon acoustic oscillations in the Lyα forest of BOSS DR11 quasars

Timothée Delubac, Julian E. Bautista, Nicolás G. Busca, James Rich, David Kirkby, Stephen Bailey, Andreu Font-Ribera, Anže Slosar, Khee-Gan Lee, Matthew M. Pieri, Jean-Christophe Hamilton, Éric Aubourg, Michael Blomqvist, Jo Bovy, J. Brinkmann, William Carithers, Kyle S. Dawson, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Satya Gontcho A Gontcho, Jean-Paul KneibJ. -M. Le Goff, Daniel Margala, Jordi Miralda-Escudé, Adam D. Myers, Robert C. Nichol, Pasquier Noterdaeme, Ross O'Connell, Matthew D. Olmstead, Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille, Isabelle Pâris, Patrick Petitjean, Nicholas P. Ross, Graziano Rossi, David J. Schlegel, Donald P. Schneider, David H. Weinberg, Christophe Yèche, Donald G. York

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We report a detection of the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) feature in the flux-correlation function of the Ly{\alpha} forest of high-redshift quasars with a statistical significance of five standard deviations. The study uses 137,562 quasars in the redshift range $2.1\le z \le 3.5$ from the Data Release 11 (DR11) of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) of SDSS-III. This sample contains three times the number of quasars used in previous studies. The measured position of the BAO peak determines the angular distance, $D_A(z=2.34)$ and expansion rate, $H(z=2.34)$, both on a scale set by the sound horizon at the drag epoch, $r_d$. We find $D_A/r_d=11.28\pm0.65(1\sigma)^{+2.8}_{-1.2}(2\sigma)$ and $D_H/r_d=9.18\pm0.28(1\sigma)\pm0.6(2\sigma)$ where $D_H=c/H$. The optimal combination, $\sim D_H^{0.7}D_A^{0.3}/r_d$ is determined with a precision of $\sim2\%$. For the value $r_d=147.4~{\rm Mpc}$, consistent with the CMB power spectrum measured by Planck, we find $D_A(z=2.34)=1662\pm96(1\sigma)~{\rm Mpc}$ and $H(z=2.34)=222\pm7(1\sigma)~{\rm km\,s^{-1}Mpc^{-1}}$. Tests with mock catalogs and variations of our analysis procedure have revealed no systematic uncertainties comparable to our statistical errors. Our results agree with the previously reported BAO measurement at the same redshift using the quasar-Ly{\alpha} forest cross-correlation. The auto-correlation and cross-correlation approaches are complementary because of the quite different impact of redshift-space distortion on the two measurements. The combined constraints from the two correlation functions imply values of $D_A/r_d$ and $D_H/r_d$ that are, respectively, 7% low and 7% high compared to the predictions of a flat $\Lambda$CDM cosmological model with the best-fit Planck parameters. With our estimated statistical errors, the significance of this discrepancy is $\approx 2.5\sigma$.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA59
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Early online date26 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • astro-ph.CO
  • cosmology
  • Lyα forest
  • large scale structure
  • dark energy
  • RCUK
  • STFC


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