Estimates for the impact of Ultraviolet Background fluctuations on galaxy clustering measurements

15 Oct 2019  ·  Sanderbeck Phoebe Upton, Irsic Vid, McQuinn Matthew, Meiksin Avery ·

Spatial fluctuations in ultraviolet backgrounds can subtly modulate the distribution of extragalactic sources, a potential signal and systematic for large-scale structure surveys. While this modulation has been shown to be significant for 3D Ly alpha forest surveys, its relevance for other large-scale structure probes has been hardly explored, despite being the only astrophysical process that likely can affect clustering measurements on the scales of >~Mpc... We estimate that the background fluctuations, modulating the amount of H I, have a fractional effect of (0.03-0.3) x (k/[10^-2 Mpc^-1])^-1 on the power spectrum of 21 cm intensity maps at z = 1-3. We find a smaller effect for H alpha and Ly alpha intensity mapping surveys of (0.001-0.1) x (k/[10^-2 Mpc^-1])-1 and even smaller effect for more traditional surveys that correlate the positions of individual H alpha or Ly alpha emitters. We also estimate the effect of backgrounds on low-redshift galaxy surveys in general based on a simple model in which background fluctuations modulate the rate halo gas cools, modulating star formation: We estimate a maximum fractional effect on the power of ~0.01 (k/[10-2 Mpc-1])-1 at z = 1. We compare sizes of these imprints to cosmological parameter benchmarks for the next generation of redshift surveys: We find that ionizing backgrounds could result in a bias on the squeezed triangle non-Gaussianity parameter fNL that can be larger than unity for power spectrum measurements with a SPHEREx-like galaxy survey, and typical values of intensity bias. Marginalizing over a shape of the form k-1PL, where PL is the linear matter power spectrum, removes much of this bias at the cost of ~ 40% larger statistical errors. read more

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Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics