The C IV forest as a probe of baryon acoustic oscillations

Matthew M. Pieri*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In light of recent successes in measuring baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) in quasar absorption using the Lyman α (Lyα) transition, I explore the possibility of using the 1548 Å transition of triply ionized carbon (C IV) as a tracer. While the Lyα forest is a more sensitive tracer of intergalactic gas, it is limited by the fact that it can only be measured in the optical window at redshifts z > 2. Quasars are challenging to identify and observe at these high redshifts, but the C IV forest can be probed down to redshifts z ≈ 1.3, taking full advantage of the peak in the redshift distribution of quasars that can be targeted with high efficiency. I explore the strength of the C IV absorption signal and show that the absorbing population on the red side of the Lyα emission line is dominated by C IV (and so will dominate over the potential BAO signal of other metals). As a consequence, I argue that forthcoming surveys may have a sufficient increase in quasar number density to offset the lower sensitivity of the C IV forest and provide competitive precision using both the C IV autocorrelation and the C IV-quasar cross-correlation at (z) ≈ 1.6.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L104-L108
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2014


  • cosmology: observations
  • dark energy
  • distance scale
  • intergalactic medium
  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • quasars: absorption lines


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