Ultra large-scale cosmology in next-generation experiments with single tracers

David Alonso, Philip Bull, Pedro G. Ferreira, Roy Maartens, Mario G. Santos

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Future surveys of large-scale structure will be able to measure perturbations on the scale of the cosmological horizon, and so could potentially probe a number of novel relativistic effects that are negligibly small on sub-horizon scales. These effects leave distinctive signatures in the power spectra of clustering observables and, if measurable, would open a new window on relativistic cosmology. We quantify the size and detectability of the effects for the most relevant future large-scale structure experiments: spectroscopic and photometric galaxy redshift surveys, intensity mapping surveys of neutral hydrogen, and radio continuum surveys. Our forecasts show that next-generation experiments, reaching out to redshifts $z\simeq 4$, will not be able to detect previously-undetected general-relativistic effects by using individual tracers of the density field, although the contribution of weak lensing magnification on large scales should be clearly detectable. We also perform a rigorous joint forecast for the detection of primordial non-Gaussianity through the excess power it produces in the clustering of biased tracers on large scales, finding that uncertainties of $\sigma(f_{\rm NL})\sim 1-2$ should be achievable. We study the level of degeneracy of these large-scale effects with several tracer-dependent nuisance parameters, quantifying the minimal priors on the latter that are needed for an optimal measurement of the former. Finally, we discuss the systematic effects that must be mitigated to achieve this level of sensitivity, and some alternative approaches that should help to improve the constraints. The computational tools developed to carry out this study, which requires the full-sky computation of the theoretical angular power spectra for $\mathcal{O}(100)$ redshift bins, as well as realistic models of the luminosity function, are publicly available.
Original languageEnglish
Article number145
Number of pages28
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015


  • astro-ph.CO
  • ST/ K0090X/1
  • STFC
  • large-scale structure of universe


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