Geometric biases in power-spectrum measurements

Lado Samushia, Enzo Branchini, Will Percival

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The observed distribution of galaxies has local transverse isotropy around the line-of- sight (LOS) with respect to the observer. The difference in the statistical clustering signal along and across the line-of-sight encodes important information about the ge- ometry of the Universe, its expansion rate and the rate of growth of structure within it. Because the LOS varies across a survey, the standard Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) based methods of measuring the Anisotropic Power-Spectrum (APS) cannot be used for surveys with wide observational footprint, other than to measure the monopole moment. We derive a simple analytic formula to quantify the bias for higher-order Legendre moments and we demonstrate that it is scale independent for a simple sur- vey model, and depends only on the observed area. We derive a similar numerical correction formula for recently proposed alternative estimators of the APS that are based on summing over galaxies rather than using an FFT, and can therefore in- corporate a varying LOS. We demonstrate that their bias depends on scale but not on the observed area. For a quadrupole the bias is always less than 1 per cent for k > 0.01h/Mpc at z > 0.32. For a hexadecapole the bias is below 5 per cent for k>0.05h/Mpc at z>0.32.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3704-3709
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date6 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • astro-ph.CO
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/K0090X/1


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