Unbiased clustering estimation in the presence of missing observations

Davide Bianchi, Will J. Percival

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In order to be efficient, spectroscopic galaxy redshift surveys do not obtain redshifts for all galaxies in the population targeted. The missing galaxies are often clustered, commonly leading to a lower proportion of successful observations in dense regions. One example is the close-pair issue for SDSS spectroscopic galaxy surveys, which have a deficit of pairs of observed galaxies with angular separation closer than the hardware limit on placing neighbouring fibers. Spatially clustered missing observations will exist in the next generations of surveys. Various schemes have previously been suggested to mitigate these effects, but none works for all situations. We argue that the solution is to link the missing galaxies to those observed with statistically equivalent clustering properties, and that the best way to do this is to rerun the targeting algorithm, varying the angular position of the observations. Provided that every pair has a non-zero probability of being observed in one realisation of the algorithm, then a pair-upweighting scheme linking targets to successful observations, can correct these issues. We present such a scheme, and demonstrate its validity using realisations of an idealised simple survey strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106–1118
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date12 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • astro-ph.CO
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/N000668/1
  • ST/N00180X/1


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