Separating cosmic shear from intrinsic galaxy alignments: Correlation function tomography
Astronomy and Astrophysics
During the past few years, secure detections of cosmic shear have been obtained, manifest in the correlation of the observed ellipticities of galaxies. Constraints have already been placed on cosmological parameters, such as the normalisation of the matter power spectrum sigma_8. One possible systematic contaminant of the lensing correlation signal arises from intrinsic galaxy alignment, which is still poorly constrained. Unlike lensing, intrinsic correlations only pertain to galaxies with
... galaxies with small physical separations, the correlation length being a few Mpc. We present a new method that harnesses this property, and isolates the lensing and intrinsic components of the galaxy ellipticity correlation function using measurements between different redshift slices. The observed signal is approximated by a set of template functions, making no strong assumptions about the amplitude or correlation length of any intrinsic alignment. We also show that the near-degeneracy between the matter density parameter Omega_m and sigma_8 can be lifted using correlation function tomography, even in the presence of an intrinsic alignment signal.