Likelihood techniques for the combined analysis of CMB temperature and polarization power spectra

Will Percival, M. Brown

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We consider the shape of the likelihood and posterior surfaces to be used when fitting cosmological models to cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature and polarization power spectra measured from experiments. In the limit of an all-sky survey with Gaussian-distributed pixel noise we show that the true combined likelihood of the four CMB power spectra (TT, TE, EE and BB) has a Wishart distribution and we discuss the properties of this function. We compare various fits to the posterior surface of the Cl values, both in the case of a single auto-power spectrum and for a combination of temperature and polarization data. In the latter case, it is important that the fits can accurately match the Wishart distribution in the limit of near full-sky coverage. Simple extensions of auto-power spectrum fits to include polarization data generally fail to match correlations between the different power spectra in this limit. Directly fitting pixel values on large scales, as undertaken by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe team in their analysis of the 3-yr data, avoids the complications of characterizing the shape of the posterior for the power spectra. Finally, we demonstrate the importance of the likelihood distribution on analytic marginalization, and provide a formula for analytic marginalization over a calibration error given an all-sky survey
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1116
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


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