Cosmology beyond BAO from the 3D distribution of the Lyman-α forest

Andrei Cuceu, Andreu Font-Ribera, Benjamin Joachimi, Seshadri Nadathur

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We propose a new method for fitting the full-shape of the Lyman-α (Ly α) forest 3D correlation function in order to measure the Alcock-Paczynski (AP) effect. Our method preserves the robustness of baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) analyses, while also providing extra cosmological information from a broader range of scales. We compute idealized forecasts for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) using the Ly α autocorrelation and its cross-correlation with quasars, and show how this type of analysis improves cosmological constraints. The DESI Ly α BAO analysis is expected to measure H(zeff)rd and DM(zeff)/rd with a precision of ∼0.9 per cent⁠, where H is the Hubble parameter, rd is the comoving BAO scale, DM is the comoving angular diameter distance, and the effective redshift of the measurement is zeff ≃ 2.3. By fitting the AP parameter from the full shape of the two correlations, we show that we can obtain a precision of ∼0.5−0.6 per cent on each of H(zeff)rd and DM(zeff)/rd. Furthermore, we show that a joint full-shape analysis of the Ly α auto and cross-correlation with quasars can measure the linear growth rate times the amplitude of matter fluctuations in spheres of 8 h−1Mpc, fσ8(zeff). Such an analysis could provide the first ever measurement of fσ8(zeff) at redshift zeff > 2. By combining this with the quasar autocorrelation in a joint analysis of the three high-redshift two-point correlation functions, we show that DESI could be able to measure fσ8(zeff ≃ 2.3) with a precision of 5−12 per cent⁠, depending on the smallest scale fitted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5439–5450
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • astro-ph.CO
  • methods: data analysis
  • cosmological parameters
  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/T005009/1


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