Improving cosmological measurements from galaxy surveys

  • Angela Jane Burden

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Reconstructing an estimate of linear Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) from an evolved galaxy field has become a standard technique in recent analyses. By partially removing non-linear damping caused by bulk motions, the real-space Baryon acoustic peak in the correlation function is sharpened, and oscillations in the power spectrum are visible to smaller scales. In turn, these lead to stronger measurements of the BAO scale. Future surveys are being designed assuming that this improvement has been applied, and this technique is therefore of critical importance for future BAO measurements. A number of reconstruction techniques are available, but the most widely used is a simple algorithm that de-correlates large-scale and small-scale modes approximately removing the bulk-flow displacements by moving the over density field [1, 2]. The initial work presented in this thesis shows the practical development of a reconstruction algorithm which is extensively tested on the mock catalogues created for the two Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) Date Release11 samples covering redshift ranges 0:43 < z < 0:7 and 0:15 < z < 0:43.The practical implementation of this algorithm is tested, looking at the efficiency of reconstruction as a function of the assumptions made for the bulk-flow scale, the shot noise level in a random catalogue used to quantify the mask and the method used to estimate the bulk-flow shifts. The reconstruction algorithm developed in Chapter 2 is applied to 5 different galaxy survey data sets. The algorithm was used directly to create the reconstructed catalogues used to extract the cosmological distance measurements published in [3, 4, 5, 6], the results and cosmological implications are presented. The efficiency of reconstruction is also tested against external factors including galaxy density, volume and edge effects, and the impact for future surveys is considered. The results of this work are published here [7].The measurement of linear redshift space distortions apparent in the observed distribution of matter provides information about the growth of structure and potentially provides a way of testing general relativity on large scales. The last chapter of the thesis presents a model of the reconstructed redshift space power spectrum in resummed Lagrangian perturbation theory [8] which is a new result. The goal of the work is to create a reconstruction algorithm that enhances the linear redshift space distortion signal measured from an evolved galaxy distribution analogous to the improvement seen in the BAO signal post-reconstruction.
Date of AwardMar 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorWill Percival (Supervisor) & Bob Nichol (Supervisor)

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