The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III DR9 Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: constraints on primordial non-Gaussianity

Ashley Ross, Will Percival, A. Carnero, Gong-bo Zhao, Marc Manera, Alvise Raccanelli, E. Aubourg, D. Bizyaev, H. Brewington, J. Brinkmann, J. Brownstein, A. Cuesta, L. da Costa, D. Eisenstein, G. Ebelke, H. Guo, J-C. Hamilton, M. Magana, E. Malanushenko, V. MalanushenkoClaudia Maraston, F. Montesano, Bob Nichol, D. Oravetz, K. Pan, F. Prada, A. Sanchez, Lado Samushia, D. Schlegel, D. Schneider, H. Seo, A. Sheldon, A. Simmons, S. Snedden, M. Swanson, Daniel Thomas, J. Tinker, Rita Tojeiro, I. Zehavi

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We analyze the density field of 264,283 galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) and included in the SDSS data release nine (DR9). In total, the SDSS DR9 BOSS data includes spectroscopic redshifts for over 400,000 galaxies spread over a footprint of more than 3,000 deg^2. We measure the power spectrum of these galaxies with redshifts 0.43 < z < 0.7 in order to constrain the amount of local non-Gaussianity, f_NL,local, in the primordial density field, paying particular attention to the impact of systematic uncertainties. The BOSS galaxy density field is systematically affected by the local stellar density and this influences the ability to accurately measure f_NL,local. In the absence of any correction, we find (erroneously) that the probability that f_NL,local is greater than zero, P(f_NL,local >0), is 99.5%. After quantifying and correcting for the systematic bias and including the added uncertainty, we find -45 < f_NL,local < 195 at 95% confidence, and P(f_NL,local >0) = 91.0%. A more conservative approach assumes that we have only learned the k-dependence of the systematic bias and allows any amplitude for the systematic correction; we find that the systematic effect is not fully degenerate with that of f_NL,local, and we determine that -82 < f_NL,local < 178 (at 95% confidence) and P(f_NL,local >0) = 68%. This analysis demonstrates the importance of accounting for the impact of Galactic foregrounds on f_NL,local measurements. We outline the methods that account for these systematic biases and uncertainties. We expect our methods to yield robust constraints on f_NL,local for both our own and future large-scale-structure investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1127
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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