How does the cosmic large-scale structure bias the Hubble diagram?

Pierre Fleury, Chris Clarkson, Roy Maartens

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The Hubble diagram is one of the cornerstones of observational cosmology. It is usually analysed assuming that, on average, the underlying relation between magnitude and redshift matches the prediction of a Friedmann-Lema\^itre-Robertson-Walker model. However, the inhomogeneity of the Universe generically biases these observables, mainly due to peculiar velocities and gravitational lensing, in a way that depends on the notion of average used in theoretical calculations. In this article, we carefully derive the notion of average which corresponds to the observation of the Hubble diagram. We then calculate its bias at second-order in cosmological perturbations, and estimate the consequences on the inference of cosmological parameters, for various current and future surveys. We find that this bias deeply affects direct estimations of the evolution of the dark-energy equation of state. However, errors in the standard inference of cosmological parameters remain smaller than observational uncertainties, even though they reach percent level on some parameters; they reduce to sub-percent level if an optimal distance indicator is used.
Original languageEnglish
Article number062
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number03
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017


  • astro-ph.CO
  • gr-qc
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/N000668/1


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