Sloan Digital Sky Survey III Photometric Quasar Clustering: Probing the Initial Conditions of the Universe using the Largest Volume

25 Mar 2015  ·  Ho Shirley, Agarwal Nishant, Myers Adam D., Lyons Richard, Disbrow Ashley, Seo Hee-Jong, Ross Ashley, Hirata Christopher, Padmanabhan Nikhil, O'Connell Ross, Huff Eric, Schlegel David, Slosar Anže, Weinberg David, Strauss Michael, Ross Nicholas P., Schneider Donald P., Bahcall Neta, Brinkmann J., Palanque-Delabrouille Nathalie, Yèche Christophe ·

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has surveyed 14,555 square degrees of the sky, and delivered over a trillion pixels of imaging data. We present the large-scale clustering of 1.6 million quasars between z = 0.5 and z = 2.5 that have been classified from this imaging, representing the highest density of quasars ever studied for clustering measurements... This data set spans ~11,000 square degrees and probes a volume of 80(Gpc/h)^3. In principle, such a large volume and medium density of tracers should facilitate high-precision cosmological constraints. We measure the angular clustering of photometrically classified quasars using an optimal quadratic estimator in four redshift slices with an accuracy of ~25% over a bin width of l ~10 - 15 on scales corresponding to matter-radiation equality and larger (l ~ 2 - 30). Observational systematics can strongly bias clustering measurements on large scales, which can mimic cosmologically relevant signals such as deviations from Gaussianity in the spectrum of primordial perturbations. We account for systematics by employing a new method recently proposed by Agarwal et al. (2014) to the clustering of photometrically classified quasars. We carefully apply our methodology to mitigate known observational systematics and further remove angular bins that are contaminated by unknown systematics. Combining quasar data with the photometric luminous red galaxy (LRG) sample of Ross et al. (2011) and Ho et al. (2012), and marginalizing over all bias and shot noise-like parameters, we obtain a constraint on local primordial non-Gaussianity of fNL = -113+/-154 (1\sigma error). [Abridged] read more

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Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics