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Measuring the Cosmological Geometry from the Lyα Forest along Parallel Lines of Sight

Patrick McDonald, Jordi Miralda‐Escude

1999
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Astrophysical Journal
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We discuss the feasibility of measuring the cosmological metric using the redshift space correlation function of the Lya forest in multiple lines of sight, as a function of angular and velocity separation. The geometric parameter that is measured is f(z) = H(z) D(z)/c, where H(z) is the Hubble constant and D(z) the angular diameter distance at redshift z. The correlation function is computed in linear theory. We describe a method to measure it from observations with the Gaussianization
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... of Croft et al (1998) to map the Lya forest transmitted flux to an approximation of the linear density field. The effect of peculiar velocities on the shape of the recovered power spectrum is pointed out. We estimate the error in recovering the f(z) factor from observations due to the variance in the Lya absorbers. We show that 20 pairs of quasars (separations < 3') are needed to distinguish a flat Ω_0=1 universe from a universe with Ω_0=0.2, Ω_Λ=0.8. A second parameter that is obtained from the correlation function of the Lya forest is β≃Ω(z)^0.6/b (affecting the magnitude of the peculiar velocities), where b is a linear theory bias of the Lya forest. The statistical error of f(z) is reduced if b can be determined independently from numerical simulations, reducing the number of quasar pairs needed for constraining cosmology to approximately six. On small scales, where the correlation function is higher, f(z) should be measurable with fewer quasars, but non-linear effects must then be taken into account. The anisotropy of the non-linear redshift space correlation function as a function of scale should also provide a precise quantitative test of the gravitational instability theory of the Lya forest.

doi:10.1086/307264
fatcat:pqqgnct33vc5vicl433cxqamzm