Recent Postings from Cosmology and Extragalactic

Fast Radio Burst Pulse Widths, Scattering and Distances

By comparing the dispersion measures and pulse widths of two fast radio bursts (FRB) for which pulse widths were measured we show that if the dispersion measures resulted from propagation through the intergalactic medium at cosmological distances and the widths were a consequence of scattering by single thin screens, then the screens’ electron densities were $\gtrsim 20$/cm$^3$, $10^8$ times the intergalactic density. This problem is resolved if the radiation scattered close to its source, where high densities are possible. Observation of dispersion indices close to their low density limit of $-2$ sets a model-independent upper bound on the electron density and a lower bound on the size of the dispersive plasma cloud, excluding terrestrial or Solar System origin. Much of the dispersion measures may be attributed to scattering regions about 1 AU from the sources, with electron densities $\sim 3 \times 10^8$/cm$^3$. Transparency to inverse bremsstrahlung requires that scattering occurred in regions with temperature $\gtrsim 10^{7\,\circ}$K, consistent with the environment of an energetic outburst. The inferred parameters are only marginally consistent and suggest re-examination of the assumed relation between dispersion measure and distance. Origin in an ionized starburst or protogalaxy is suggested, but statistical arguments exclude compact young SNR in the Galactic neighborhood.

Planck intermediate results. XXX. The angular power spectrum of polarized dust emission at intermediate and high Galactic latitudes

The polarized thermal emission from Galactic dust is the main foreground present in measurements of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at frequencies above 100GHz. We exploit the Planck HFI polarization data from 100 to 353GHz to measure the dust angular power spectra $C_\ell^{EE,BB}$ over the range $40<\ell<600$. These will bring new insights into interstellar dust physics and a precise determination of the level of contamination for CMB polarization experiments. We show that statistical properties of the emission can be characterized over large fractions of the sky using $C_\ell$. For the dust, they are well described by power laws in $\ell$ with exponents $\alpha^{EE,BB}=-2.42\pm0.02$. The amplitudes of the polarization $C_\ell$ vary with the average brightness in a way similar to the intensity ones. The dust polarization frequency dependence is consistent with modified blackbody emission with $\beta_d=1.59$ and $T_d=19.6$K. We find a systematic ratio between the amplitudes of the Galactic $B$- and $E$-modes of 0.5. We show that even in the faintest dust-emitting regions there are no "clean" windows where primordial CMB $B$-mode polarization could be measured without subtraction of dust emission. Finally, we investigate the level of dust polarization in the BICEP2 experiment field. Extrapolation of the Planck 353GHz data to 150GHz gives a dust power $\ell(\ell+1)C_\ell^{BB}/(2\pi)$ of $1.32\times10^{-2}\mu$K$_{CMB}^2$ over the $40<\ell<120$ range; the statistical uncertainty is $\pm0.29$ and there is an additional uncertainty (+0.28,-0.24) from the extrapolation, both in the same units. This is the same magnitude as reported by BICEP2 over this $\ell$ range, which highlights the need for assessment of the polarized dust signal. The present uncertainties will be reduced through an ongoing, joint analysis of the Planck and BICEP2 data sets.

Lyman-alpha Forest Tomography from Background Galaxies: The First Megaparsec-Resolution Large-Scale Structure Map at z>2

We present the first observations of foreground Lyman-$\alpha$ forest absorption from high-redshift galaxies, targeting 24 star-forming galaxies (SFGs) with $z\sim 2.3-2.8$ within a $5′ \times 15′$ region of the COSMOS field. The transverse sightline separation is $\sim 2\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc}$ comoving, allowing us to create a tomographic reconstruction of the 3D Ly$\alpha$ forest absorption field over the redshift range $2.20\leq z\leq 2.45$. The resulting map covers $6\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc} \times 14\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc}$ in the transverse plane and $230\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc}$ along the line-of-sight with a spatial resolution of $\approx 3.5\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc}$, and is the first high-fidelity map of large-scale structure on $\sim\mathrm{Mpc}$ scales at $z>2$. Our map reveals significant structures with $\gtrsim 10\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc}$ extent, including several spanning the entire transverse breadth, providing qualitative evidence for the filamentary structures predicted to exist in the high-redshift cosmic web. Simulated reconstructions with the same sightline sampling, spectral resolution, and signal-to-noise ratio recover the salient structures present in the underlying 3D absorption fields. Using data from other surveys, we identified 18 galaxies with known redshifts coeval with our map volume enabling a direct comparison to our tomographic map. This shows that galaxies preferentially occupy high-density regions, in qualitative agreement with the same comparison applied to simulations. Our results establishes the feasibility of the CLAMATO survey, which aims to obtain Ly$\alpha$ forest spectra for $\sim 1000$ SFGs over $\sim 1 \,\mathrm{deg}^2$ of the COSMOS field, in order to map out IGM large-scale structure at $\langle z \rangle \sim 2.3$ over a large volume $(100\,h^{-1}\mathrm{Mpc})^3$.

Mass - concentration relation and weak lensing peak counts

The statistics of peaks in weak lensing convergence maps is a promising tool to investigate both the properties of dark matter haloes and constrain the cosmological parameters. We study how the number of detectable peaks and its scaling with redshift depend upon the cluster dark matter halo profiles and use peak statistics to constrain the parameters of the mass – concentration (MC) relation. We investigate which constraints the Euclid mission can set on the MC coefficients also taking into account degeneracies with the cosmological parameters. To this end, we first estimate the number of peaks and its redshift distribution for different MC relations. We find that the steeper the mass dependence and the larger the normalisation, the higher is the number of detectable clusters, with the total number of peaks changing up to $40\%$ depending on the MC relation. We then perform a Fisher matrix forecast of the errors on the MC relation parameters as well as cosmological parameters. We find that peak number counts detected by Euclid can determine the normalization $A_v$, the mass $B_v$ and redshift $C_v$ slopes and intrinsic scatter $\sigma_v$ of the MC relation to an unprecedented accuracy being $\sigma(A_v)/A_v = 1\%$, $\sigma(B_v)/B_v = 4\%$, $\sigma(C_v)/C_v = 9\%$, $\sigma(\sigma_v)/\sigma_v = 1\%$ if all cosmological parameters are assumed to be known. Should we relax this severe assumption, constraints are degraded, but remarkably good results can be restored setting only some of the parameters or combining peak counts with Planck data. This precision can give insight on competing scenarios of structure formation and evolution and on the role of baryons in cluster assembling. Alternatively, for a fixed MC relation, future peaks counts can perform as well as current BAO and SNeIa when combined with Planck.

Coupled dark energy with perturbed Hubble expansion rate

The coupling between dark sectors provides a possible approach to mitigate the coincidence problem of cosmological standard model. In this paper, dark energy is treated as a fluid with a constant equation of state, whose coupling with dark matter is proportional the Hubble parameter and energy density of dark energy, that is, $\bar{Q}=3\xi_x\bar{H}\bar{\rho}_x$. Particularly, we consider the Hubble expansion rate to be perturbed in the perturbation evolutions of dark sectors. Using jointing data sets which include cosmic microwave background radiation, baryon acoustic oscillation, type Ia supernovae, and redshift-space distortions, we perform a full Monte Carlo Markov Chain likelihood analysis for the coupled model. The results show that the mean value with errors of interaction rate is: $\xi_x=0.00305_{-0.00305-0.00305-0.00305}^{+0.000645+0.00511+0.00854}$ for $Q^{\mu}_A\parallel u^{\mu}_c$; $\xi_x=0.00317_{-0.00317-0.00317-0.00317}^{+0.000628+0.00547+0.00929}$ for $Q^{\mu}_A\parallel u^{\mu}_x$, which means that the recently cosmic observations favored small interaction rate which is up to the order of $10^{-3}$. Moreover, in contrast to the coupled model with unperturbed expansion rate, we find perturbed Hubble expansion rate could bring about negligible impact on the model parameter space.

Implications of fast radio bursts for superconducting cosmic strings [Cross-Listing]

Highly beamed, short-duration electromagnetic bursts could be produced by superconducting cosmic string (SCS) loops oscillating in cosmic magnetic fields. We demonstrated that the basic characteristics of SCS bursts such as the electromagnetic frequency and the energy release could be consistently exhibited in the recently discovered fast radio bursts (FRBs). Moreover, it is first showed that the redshift distribution of the FRBs can also be well accounted for by the SCS burst model. Such agreements between the FRBs and SCS bursts suggest that the FRBs could originate from SCS bursts and thus they could provide an effective probe to study SCSs. The obtained values of model parameters indicate that the loops generating the FRBs have a small length scale and they are mostly formed in the radiation-dominated cosmological epoch.

Implications of fast radio bursts for superconducting cosmic strings

Highly beamed, short-duration electromagnetic bursts could be produced by superconducting cosmic string (SCS) loops oscillating in cosmic magnetic fields. We demonstrated that the basic characteristics of SCS bursts such as the electromagnetic frequency and the energy release could be consistently exhibited in the recently discovered fast radio bursts (FRBs). Moreover, it is first showed that the redshift distribution of the FRBs can also be well accounted for by the SCS burst model. Such agreements between the FRBs and SCS bursts suggest that the FRBs could originate from SCS bursts and thus they could provide an effective probe to study SCSs. The obtained values of model parameters indicate that the loops generating the FRBs have a small length scale and they are mostly formed in the radiation-dominated cosmological epoch.

Simulating (p)reheating after inflation via the DCE?

We note some close parallels between preheating/perturbative reheating, (p)reheating, models in post-inflationary cosmology and the dynamical Casimir effect (DCE) in quantum optics. For the plasma-mirror model we show how the effective plasma mass (arising from conduction electrons) behaves like an oscillating inflaton field, while created photons behave like a scalar field coupled quadratically to the inflaton. Furthermore, the effect of spacetime expansion can also be incorporated by varying the dielectric function. We propose an experiment that could mimic (p)reheating for both narrow and broad parametric resonance, by employing technology already being used in attempts to detect DCE photons via plasma-mirrors.

Simulating (p)reheating after inflation via the DCE? [Cross-Listing]

We note some close parallels between preheating/perturbative reheating, (p)reheating, models in post-inflationary cosmology and the dynamical Casimir effect (DCE) in quantum optics. For the plasma-mirror model we show how the effective plasma mass (arising from conduction electrons) behaves like an oscillating inflaton field, while created photons behave like a scalar field coupled quadratically to the inflaton. Furthermore, the effect of spacetime expansion can also be incorporated by varying the dielectric function. We propose an experiment that could mimic (p)reheating for both narrow and broad parametric resonance, by employing technology already being used in attempts to detect DCE photons via plasma-mirrors.

Simulating (p)reheating after inflation via the DCE? [Cross-Listing]

We note some close parallels between preheating/perturbative reheating, (p)reheating, models in post-inflationary cosmology and the dynamical Casimir effect (DCE) in quantum optics. For the plasma-mirror model we show how the effective plasma mass (arising from conduction electrons) behaves like an oscillating inflaton field, while created photons behave like a scalar field coupled quadratically to the inflaton. Furthermore, the effect of spacetime expansion can also be incorporated by varying the dielectric function. We propose an experiment that could mimic (p)reheating for both narrow and broad parametric resonance, by employing technology already being used in attempts to detect DCE photons via plasma-mirrors.

Non-Gaussian Shape Discrimination with Spectroscopic Galaxy Surveys

[Abridged] We consider how galaxy clustering data, from Mpc to Gpc scales, from upcoming large scale structure surveys, such as Euclid and DESI, can provide discriminating information about the bispectrum shape arising from a variety of inflationary scenarios. Through exploring in detail the weighting of shape properties in the calculation of the halo bias and halo mass function we show how they probe a broad range of configurations, beyond those in the squeezed limit, that can help distinguish between shapes with similar large scale bias behaviors. We assess the impact, on constraints for a diverse set of non-Gaussian shapes, of galaxy clustering information in the mildly non-linear regime, and surveys that span multiple redshifts and employ different galactic tracers of the dark matter distribution. Fisher forecasts are presented for a Euclid-like spectroscopic survey of H$\alpha$-selected emission line galaxies (ELGs) using recent revisions of the expected H$\alpha$ luminosity function, and a DESI-like survey, of luminous red galaxies (LRGs) and [O-II] doublet-selected ELGs, in combination with Planck-like CMB temperature and polarization data. While ELG samples provide better probes of shapes that are divergent in the squeezed limit, LRG constraints, centered below $z<1$, yield stronger constraints on shapes with scale-independent large-scale halo biases, such as the equilateral template. The ELG and LRG samples provide complementary degeneracy directions for distinguishing between different shapes. If the Gaussian galaxy bias is constrained to better than a percent level, such as can be determined from the galaxy bispectrum or weak lensing, then the LSS and CMB data could provide complementary constraints that will enable differentiation of bispectra with distinct theoretical origins but with similar large scale, squeezed-limit properties.

LOFAR low-band antenna observations of the 3C295 and Bootes fields: source counts and ultra-steep spectrum sources

We present LOFAR Low Band observations of the Bootes and 3C295 fields. Our images made at 34, 46, and 62 MHz reach noise levels of 12, 8, and 5 mJy beam$^{-1}$, making them the deepest images ever obtained in this frequency range. In total, we detect between 300 and 400 sources in each of these images, covering an area of 17 to 52 deg$^{2}$. From the observations we derive Euclidean-normalized differential source counts. The 62 MHz source counts agree with previous GMRT 153 MHz and VLA 74 MHz differential source counts, scaling with a spectral index of $-0.7$. We find that a spectral index scaling of $-0.5$ is required to match up the LOFAR 34 MHz source counts. This result is also in agreement with source counts from the 38 MHz 8C survey, indicating that the average spectral index of radio sources flattens towards lower frequencies. We also find evidence for spectral flattening using the individual flux measurements of sources between 34 and 1400 MHz and by calculating the spectral index averaged over the source population. To select ultra-steep spectrum ($\alpha < -1.1$) radio sources, that could be associated with massive high redshift radio galaxies, we compute spectral indices between 62 MHz, 153 MHz and 1.4 GHz for sources in the Bo\"otes field. We cross-correlate these radio sources with optical and infrared catalogues and fit the spectral energy distribution to obtain photometric redshifts. We find that most of these ultra-steep spectrum sources are located in the $ 0.7 \lesssim z \lesssim 2.5$ range.

CoMaLit III. Literature Catalogs of weak Lensing Clusters of galaxies (LC^2)

The measurement of the mass of clusters of galaxies is crucial for their use in cosmology and astrophysics. Masses can be efficiently determined with weak lensing (WL) analyses. I compiled from Literature a Catalog of weak Lensing Clusters (LC^2). Cluster identifiers, coordinates, and redshifts have been standardised. WL masses were reported to over-densities of 2500, 500, 200, and to the virial one in the reference Lambda-CDM model. Duplicate entries were carefully handled. I produced three catalogs: LC^2-single, with 485 unique groups and clusters analysed with the single-halo model; LC^2-substructure, listing substructures in complex systems; LC^2-all, listing all the 822 WL masses found in literature. The catalogs are publicly available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hukhb24c3ahiun2/AADVuW7yUAA2XjyDrFwofejAa?dl=0

Formation of Dark Matter Torii Around Supermassive Black Holes Via The Eccentric Kozai-Lidov Mechanism

We explore the effects of long term secular perturbations on the distribution of dark matter particles around Supermassive Black Hole (BH) binaries. We show that in the hierarchical (in separation) three-body problem, one of the BHs and a dark matter particle form an inner binary. Gravitational perturbations from the BH companion, on a much wider orbit, can cause the dark matter particle to reach extremely high eccentricities and even get accreted onto the BH, by what is known as the Eccentric Kozai-Lidov (EKL) mechanism. We show that this may produce a torus-like configuration for the dark matter distribution around the less massive member of the BH binary. We first consider an Intermediate BH (IMBH) in the vicinity of our Galactic Center, which may be a relic of a past minor merger. We show that if the IMBH is close enough (i.e., near the stellar disk) the EKL mechanism is very efficient in exciting the eccentricity of dark matter particles in near-polar configurations to extremely high values where they are accreted by the IMBH. We show that this mechanism is even more effective if the central BH grows in mass, where we have assumed adiabatic growth. Since near-polar configurations are disrupted, a torus-like shape is formed. We also show that this behavior is also likely to be relevant for Supermassive BH binaries. We suggest that if the BHs are spinning, the accreted dark matter particles may linger in the ergosphere and thereby may generate self-annihilations and produce an indirect signature of potential interest.

Fractal analysis of the galaxy distribution in the redshift range 0.45 < z < 5.0 [Cross-Listing]

Evidence is presented that the galaxy distribution can be described as a fractal system in the redshift range of the FDF galaxy survey. The fractal dimension $D$ was derived using the FDF galaxy volume number densities in the spatially homogeneous standard cosmological model with $\Omega_{m_0}=0.3$, $\Omega_{\Lambda_0}=0.7$ and $H_0=70 \; \mbox{km} \; {\mbox{s}}^{-1} \; {\mbox{Mpc}}^{-1}$. The ratio between the differential and integral number densities $\gamma$ and $\gamma^\ast$ obtained from the red and blue FDF galaxies provides a direct method to estimate $D$, implying that $\gamma$ and $\gamma^\ast$ vary as power-laws with the cosmological distances. The luminosity distance $d_{\scriptscriptstyle L}$, galaxy area distance $d_{\scriptscriptstyle G}$ and redshift distance $d_z$ were plotted against their respective number densities to calculate $D$ by linear fitting. It was found that the FDF galaxy distribution is characterized by two single fractal dimensions at successive distance ranges. Two straight lines were fitted to the data, whose slopes change at $z \approx 1.3$ or $z \approx 1.9$ depending on the chosen cosmological distance. The average fractal dimension calculated using $\gamma^\ast$ changes from $\langle D \rangle=1.4^{\scriptscriptstyle +0.7}_{\scriptscriptstyle -0.6}$ to $\langle D \rangle=0.5^{\scriptscriptstyle +1.2}_{\scriptscriptstyle -0.4}$ for all galaxies, and $D$ decreases as $z$ increases. Small values of $D$ at high $z$ mean that in the past galaxies were distributed much more sparsely and the large-scale galaxy structure was then possibly dominated by voids. Results of Iribarrem et al. (2014, arXiv:1401.6572) indicating similar fractal features with $\langle D \rangle =0.6 \pm 0.1$ in the far-infrared sources of the Herschel/PACS evolutionary probe (PEP) at $1.5 \lesssim z \lesssim 3.2$ are also mentioned.

Fractal analysis of the galaxy distribution in the redshift range 0.45 < z < 5.0

Evidence is presented that the galaxy distribution can be described as a fractal system in the redshift range of the FDF galaxy survey. The fractal dimension $D$ was derived using the FDF galaxy volume number densities in the spatially homogeneous standard cosmological model with $\Omega_{m_0}=0.3$, $\Omega_{\Lambda_0}=0.7$ and $H_0=70 \; \mbox{km} \; {\mbox{s}}^{-1} \; {\mbox{Mpc}}^{-1}$. The ratio between the differential and integral number densities $\gamma$ and $\gamma^\ast$ obtained from the red and blue FDF galaxies provides a direct method to estimate $D$, implying that $\gamma$ and $\gamma^\ast$ vary as power-laws with the cosmological distances. The luminosity distance $d_{\scriptscriptstyle L}$, galaxy area distance $d_{\scriptscriptstyle G}$ and redshift distance $d_z$ were plotted against their respective number densities to calculate $D$ by linear fitting. It was found that the FDF galaxy distribution is characterized by two single fractal dimensions at successive distance ranges. Two straight lines were fitted to the data, whose slopes change at $z \approx 1.3$ or $z \approx 1.9$ depending on the chosen cosmological distance. The average fractal dimension calculated using $\gamma^\ast$ changes from $\langle D \rangle=1.4^{\scriptscriptstyle +0.7}_{\scriptscriptstyle -0.6}$ to $\langle D \rangle=0.5^{\scriptscriptstyle +1.2}_{\scriptscriptstyle -0.4}$ for all galaxies, and $D$ decreases as $z$ increases. Small values of $D$ at high $z$ mean that in the past galaxies were distributed much more sparsely and the large-scale galaxy structure was then possibly dominated by voids. Results of Iribarrem et al. (2014, arXiv:1401.6572) indicating similar fractal features with $\langle D \rangle =0.6 \pm 0.1$ in the far-infrared sources of the Herschel/PACS evolutionary probe (PEP) at $1.5 \lesssim z \lesssim 3.2$ are also mentioned.

Theoretical Estimates of Integrated Sachs-Wolfe Effect Detection through EMU-ASKAP Survey with Confusion, Position Uncertainty, Shot Noise and SNR analysis

The paper discusses ISW estimates through EMU-ASKAP survey. The main ideas this paper covers include: 1- Discussion on source distribution, confusion, position accuracy and shotnoise (with discussion focusing on SN ratios). 2- Selection of maximum redshift and maximum ‘l’ ranges in relation with SN ratios. Note: Complete abstract is available in the document.

String Cosmology - Large-Field Inflation in String Theory

This is a short review of string cosmology. We wish to connect string-scale physics as closely as possible to observables accessible to current or near-future experiments. Our possible best hope to do so is a description of inflation in string theory. The energy scale of inflation can be as high as that of Grand Unification (GUT). If this is the case, this is the closest we can possibly get in energy scales to string-scale physics. Hence, GUT-scale inflation may be our best candidate phenomenon to preserve traces of string-scale dynamics. Our chance to look for such traces is the primordial gravitational wave, or tensor mode signal produced during inflation. For GUT-scale inflation this is strong enough to be potentially visible as a B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Moreover, a GUT-scale inflation model has a trans-Planckian excursion of the inflaton scalar field during the observable amount of inflation. Such large-field models of inflation have a clear need for symmetry protection against quantum corrections. This makes them ideal candidates for a description in a candidate fundamental theory like string theory. At the same time the need of large-field inflation models for UV completion makes them particularly susceptible to preserve imprints of their string-scale dynamics in the inflationary observables, the spectral index $n_s$ and the fractional tensor mode power $r$. Hence, we will focus this review on axion monodromy inflation as a mechanism of large-field inflation in string theory.

String Cosmology - Large-Field Inflation in String Theory [Cross-Listing]

This is a short review of string cosmology. We wish to connect string-scale physics as closely as possible to observables accessible to current or near-future experiments. Our possible best hope to do so is a description of inflation in string theory. The energy scale of inflation can be as high as that of Grand Unification (GUT). If this is the case, this is the closest we can possibly get in energy scales to string-scale physics. Hence, GUT-scale inflation may be our best candidate phenomenon to preserve traces of string-scale dynamics. Our chance to look for such traces is the primordial gravitational wave, or tensor mode signal produced during inflation. For GUT-scale inflation this is strong enough to be potentially visible as a B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Moreover, a GUT-scale inflation model has a trans-Planckian excursion of the inflaton scalar field during the observable amount of inflation. Such large-field models of inflation have a clear need for symmetry protection against quantum corrections. This makes them ideal candidates for a description in a candidate fundamental theory like string theory. At the same time the need of large-field inflation models for UV completion makes them particularly susceptible to preserve imprints of their string-scale dynamics in the inflationary observables, the spectral index $n_s$ and the fractional tensor mode power $r$. Hence, we will focus this review on axion monodromy inflation as a mechanism of large-field inflation in string theory.

String Cosmology - Large-Field Inflation in String Theory [Cross-Listing]

This is a short review of string cosmology. We wish to connect string-scale physics as closely as possible to observables accessible to current or near-future experiments. Our possible best hope to do so is a description of inflation in string theory. The energy scale of inflation can be as high as that of Grand Unification (GUT). If this is the case, this is the closest we can possibly get in energy scales to string-scale physics. Hence, GUT-scale inflation may be our best candidate phenomenon to preserve traces of string-scale dynamics. Our chance to look for such traces is the primordial gravitational wave, or tensor mode signal produced during inflation. For GUT-scale inflation this is strong enough to be potentially visible as a B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Moreover, a GUT-scale inflation model has a trans-Planckian excursion of the inflaton scalar field during the observable amount of inflation. Such large-field models of inflation have a clear need for symmetry protection against quantum corrections. This makes them ideal candidates for a description in a candidate fundamental theory like string theory. At the same time the need of large-field inflation models for UV completion makes them particularly susceptible to preserve imprints of their string-scale dynamics in the inflationary observables, the spectral index $n_s$ and the fractional tensor mode power $r$. Hence, we will focus this review on axion monodromy inflation as a mechanism of large-field inflation in string theory.

String Cosmology - Large-Field Inflation in String Theory [Cross-Listing]

This is a short review of string cosmology. We wish to connect string-scale physics as closely as possible to observables accessible to current or near-future experiments. Our possible best hope to do so is a description of inflation in string theory. The energy scale of inflation can be as high as that of Grand Unification (GUT). If this is the case, this is the closest we can possibly get in energy scales to string-scale physics. Hence, GUT-scale inflation may be our best candidate phenomenon to preserve traces of string-scale dynamics. Our chance to look for such traces is the primordial gravitational wave, or tensor mode signal produced during inflation. For GUT-scale inflation this is strong enough to be potentially visible as a B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Moreover, a GUT-scale inflation model has a trans-Planckian excursion of the inflaton scalar field during the observable amount of inflation. Such large-field models of inflation have a clear need for symmetry protection against quantum corrections. This makes them ideal candidates for a description in a candidate fundamental theory like string theory. At the same time the need of large-field inflation models for UV completion makes them particularly susceptible to preserve imprints of their string-scale dynamics in the inflationary observables, the spectral index $n_s$ and the fractional tensor mode power $r$. Hence, we will focus this review on axion monodromy inflation as a mechanism of large-field inflation in string theory.

Foreground removal for SKA EoR with the Correlated Component Analysis

We apply the Correlated Component Analysis (CCA) method on simulated data of the Square Kilometre Array, with the aim of accurately cleaning the 21 cm reionization signal from diffuse foreground contamination. The CCA has been developed for the Cosmic Microwave Background, but the application of the Fourier-domain implementation of this method to the reionization signal is straightforward. The CCA is a parametric method to estimate the frequency behaviour of the foregrounds from the data by using second-order statistics. We test its performance on foreground simulations of increasing complexity, designed to challenge the parametric models adopted. We also drop the assumption of spectral smoothness that most of the methods rely upon. We are able to clean effectively the simulated data across the explored frequency range (100-200 MHz) for all the foreground simulations. This shows that the CCA method is very promising for EoR component separation.

The physical origin of the universal accretion history of dark matter halos

Understanding the universal accretion history of dark matter halos is the first step towards determining the origin of their universal structure. In this work, we begin by using the extended Press-Schechter (EPS) formalism to show that the halo mass accretion history is determined by the growth rate of initial density perturbations, and that it follows the expression M(z)=M0(1+z)^{af(M0)}e^{-f(M0)z}, where M0=M(z=0), a depends on cosmology and f(M0) depends only on the matter power spectrum. We then explore the relation between the structure of the inner dark matter halo and halo mass history using a suite of cosmological, hydrodynamical simulations. We confirm that the formation time, defined as the time when the virial mass of the main progenitor equals the mass enclosed within the scale radius, correlates strongly with concentration. We provide a fitting formula for the relation between concentration and formation time, from which we show analytically that the scatter in formation time determines the scatter in concentration. Based on our analytic and numerical work, we conclude that the concentration is determined by the halo mass history, and show by simple modeling that one can be determined from the other. Since halo concentrations are characterized by their mass histories, and the latter are described by the initial density perturbations and the growth rate, we have therefore established the physical link between halo concentrations and the initial density perturbation field. Finally, we model the halo mass history as M(z)=M0(1+z)^{alpha}e^{beta z} and find a direct correlation between the parameters alpha, beta and concentration. We provide fitting formulas for the halo mass history and accretion rate as a function of halo mass, and demonstrate how halo mass history changes according to the adopted mass definition and cosmology.

A theoretical estimate of intrinsic ellipticity bispectra induced by angular momenta alignments

Intrinsically aligned galaxy shapes are one of the most important systematics in cosmic shear measurements. So far theoretical studies of intrinsic alignments almost exclusively focus on their statistics at the two-point level. Results from numerical simulations, however, suggest that third-order measures might be even stronger affected. We therefore investigate the (angular) bispectrum of intrinsic alignments. In our fully analytical study we describe intrinsic galaxy ellipticities by a physical alignment model, which makes use of tidal torque theory. We derive expressions for the various combinations of intrinsic and gravitationally induced ellipticities, i.e. III-, GII- and GGI-alignments, and compare our results to the shear bispectrum, the GGG-term. The latter is computed using hyper-extended perturbation theory. Considering equilateral and squeezed configurations we find that for a Euclid-like survey intrinsic alignments (III-alignments) start to dominate on angular scales smaller than 20 arcmin and 13 arcmin, respectively. This sensitivity to the configuration-space geometry may allow to exploit the cosmological information contained in both the intrinsic and gravitationally induced ellipticity field. On smallest scales (l ~ 3000) III-alignments exceed the lensing signal by at least one order of magnitude. The amplitude of the GGI-alignments is the weakest. It stays below that of the shear field on all angular scales irrespective of the wave-vector configuration.

The Galaxy Cosmological Mass Function

We study the galaxy cosmological mass function (GCMF) in a semi-empirical relativistic approach using observational data provided by galaxy redshift surveys. Starting from the theory of Ribeiro & Stoeger (2003, arXiv:astro-ph/0304094) between the mass-to-light ratio, the selection function obtained from the luminosity function (LF) data and the luminosity density, the average luminosity $L$ and the average galactic mass $\mathcal{M}_g$ are computed in terms of the redshift. $\mathcal{M}_g$ is also alternatively estimated by a method that uses the galaxy stellar mass function (GSMF). Comparison of these two forms of deriving the average galactic mass allows us to infer a possible bias introduced by the selection criteria of the survey. We used the FORS Deep Field galaxy survey sample of 5558 galaxies in the redshift range $0.5 < z < 5.0$ and its LF Schechter parameters in the B-band, as well as this sample’s stellar mass-to-light ratio and its GSMF data. Assuming ${\mathcal{M}_{g_0}} \approx 10^{11} \mathcal{M}_\odot$ as the local value of the average galactic mass, the LF approach results in $L_{B} \propto (1+z)^{(2.40 \pm 0.03)}$ and $\mathcal{M}_g \propto (1+z)^{(1.1\pm0.2)}$. However, using the GSMF results produces $\mathcal{M}_g \propto (1+z)^{(-0.58 \pm 0.22)}$. We chose the latter result as it is less biased. We then obtained the theoretical quantities of interest, such as the differential number counts, to calculate the GCMF, which can be fitted by a Schechter function. The derived GCMF follows theoretical predictions in which the less massive objects form first, being followed later by more massive ones. In the range $0.5 < z < 2.0$ the GCMF has a strong variation that can be interpreted as a higher rate of galaxy mergers or as a strong evolution in the star formation history of these galaxies.

The Galaxy Cosmological Mass Function [Cross-Listing]

We study the galaxy cosmological mass function (GCMF) in a semi-empirical relativistic approach using observational data provided by galaxy redshift surveys. Starting from the theory of Ribeiro & Stoeger (2003, arXiv:astro-ph/0304094) between the mass-to-light ratio, the selection function obtained from the luminosity function (LF) data and the luminosity density, the average luminosity $L$ and the average galactic mass $\mathcal{M}_g$ are computed in terms of the redshift. $\mathcal{M}_g$ is also alternatively estimated by a method that uses the galaxy stellar mass function (GSMF). Comparison of these two forms of deriving the average galactic mass allows us to infer a possible bias introduced by the selection criteria of the survey. We used the FORS Deep Field galaxy survey sample of 5558 galaxies in the redshift range $0.5 < z < 5.0$ and its LF Schechter parameters in the B-band, as well as this sample’s stellar mass-to-light ratio and its GSMF data. Assuming ${\mathcal{M}_{g_0}} \approx 10^{11} \mathcal{M}_\odot$ as the local value of the average galactic mass, the LF approach results in $L_{B} \propto (1+z)^{(2.40 \pm 0.03)}$ and $\mathcal{M}_g \propto (1+z)^{(1.1\pm0.2)}$. However, using the GSMF results produces $\mathcal{M}_g \propto (1+z)^{(-0.58 \pm 0.22)}$. We chose the latter result as it is less biased. We then obtained the theoretical quantities of interest, such as the differential number counts, to calculate the GCMF, which can be fitted by a Schechter function. The derived GCMF follows theoretical predictions in which the less massive objects form first, being followed later by more massive ones. In the range $0.5 < z < 2.0$ the GCMF has a strong variation that can be interpreted as a higher rate of galaxy mergers or as a strong evolution in the star formation history of these galaxies.

Gravitational waves from the evolution of magnetic field after electroweak epoch

It was recently demonstrated that the evolution of helical magnetic field in the primordial plasma at temperatures $T\gtrsim10$ MeV is affected by the phenomenon of chiral quantum anomaly in the electroweak model, leading to a possibility of self-sustained existence of magnetic field and chiral asymmetry in the electronic distribution. This may serve as a mechanism for generating primordial magnetic field in the early universe. Violent magnetic-field generation may lead to production of gravitational waves which, regardless of the fate of magnetic field itself, survive until today. We estimate the threshold value of the initial chiral asymmetry above which the generated gravitational waves would affect the big-bang nucleosynthesis and would show up in the current and future experiments on gravitational-wave detection.

Gravitational waves from the evolution of magnetic field after electroweak epoch [Cross-Listing]

It was recently demonstrated that the evolution of helical magnetic field in the primordial plasma at temperatures $T\gtrsim10$ MeV is affected by the phenomenon of chiral quantum anomaly in the electroweak model, leading to a possibility of self-sustained existence of magnetic field and chiral asymmetry in the electronic distribution. This may serve as a mechanism for generating primordial magnetic field in the early universe. Violent magnetic-field generation may lead to production of gravitational waves which, regardless of the fate of magnetic field itself, survive until today. We estimate the threshold value of the initial chiral asymmetry above which the generated gravitational waves would affect the big-bang nucleosynthesis and would show up in the current and future experiments on gravitational-wave detection.

Gravitational waves from the evolution of magnetic field after electroweak epoch [Cross-Listing]

It was recently demonstrated that the evolution of helical magnetic field in the primordial plasma at temperatures $T\gtrsim10$ MeV is affected by the phenomenon of chiral quantum anomaly in the electroweak model, leading to a possibility of self-sustained existence of magnetic field and chiral asymmetry in the electronic distribution. This may serve as a mechanism for generating primordial magnetic field in the early universe. Violent magnetic-field generation may lead to production of gravitational waves which, regardless of the fate of magnetic field itself, survive until today. We estimate the threshold value of the initial chiral asymmetry above which the generated gravitational waves would affect the big-bang nucleosynthesis and would show up in the current and future experiments on gravitational-wave detection.

Gravitational waves from the evolution of magnetic field after electroweak epoch [Cross-Listing]

It was recently demonstrated that the evolution of helical magnetic field in the primordial plasma at temperatures $T\gtrsim10$ MeV is affected by the phenomenon of chiral quantum anomaly in the electroweak model, leading to a possibility of self-sustained existence of magnetic field and chiral asymmetry in the electronic distribution. This may serve as a mechanism for generating primordial magnetic field in the early universe. Violent magnetic-field generation may lead to production of gravitational waves which, regardless of the fate of magnetic field itself, survive until today. We estimate the threshold value of the initial chiral asymmetry above which the generated gravitational waves would affect the big-bang nucleosynthesis and would show up in the current and future experiments on gravitational-wave detection.

Two New Catalogues of Superclusters of Abell/ACO Galaxy Clusters out to redshift 0.15

We present two new catalogues of superclusters of galaxies out to a redshit of z = 0.15, based on the Abell/ACO cluster redshift compilation maintained by one of us (HA). The first of these catalogues, the all-sky Main SuperCluster Catalogue (MSCC), is based on only the rich (A-) Abell clusters, and the second one, the Southern SuperCluster Catalogue (SSCC), covers declinations delta < -17 deg and includes the supplementary Abell S-clusters. A tunable Friends-of-Friends (FoF) algorithm was used to account for the cluster density decreasing with redshift and for different selection functions in distinct areas of the sky. We present the full list of Abell clusters used, together with their redshifts and supercluster memberships and including the isolated clusters. The SSCC contains about twice the number of superclusters than MSCC for delta < -17 deg, which we found to be due to: (1) new superclusters formed by A-clusters in their cores and surrounded by S-clusters (50%), (2) new superclusters formed by S-clusters only (40%), (3) redistribution of member clusters by fragmentation of rich (multiplicity m > 15) superclusters (8%), and (4) new superclusters formed by the connection of A-clusters through bridges of S-clusters (2%). Power-law fits to the cumulative supercluster multiplicity function yield slopes of alpha = -2.0 and alpha = -1.9 for MSCC and SSCC respectively. This power-law behavior is in agreement with the findings for other observational samples of superclusters, but not with that of catalogues based on cosmological simulations.

The impact of spurious shear on cosmological parameter estimates from weak lensing observables

Residual errors in shear measurements, after corrections for instrument systematics and atmospheric effects, can impact cosmological parameters derived from weak lensing observations. Here we combine convergence maps from our suite of ray-tracing simulations with random realizations of spurious shear with a power spectrum estimated for the LSST instrument. This allows us to quantify the errors and biases of the triplet $(\Omega_m,w,\sigma_8)$ derived from the power spectrum (PS), as well as from three different sets of non-Gaussian statistics of the lensing convergence field: Minkowski functionals (MF), low–order moments (LM), and peak counts (PK). Our main results are: (i) We find an order of magnitude smaller biases from the PS than in previous work. (ii) The PS and LM yield biases much smaller than the morphological statistics (MF, PK). (iii) For strictly Gaussian spurious shear with integrated amplitude as low as its current estimate of $\sigma^2_{sys}\approx 10^{-7}$, biases from the PS and LM would be unimportant even for a survey with the statistical power of LSST. However, we find that for surveys larger than $\approx 100$ deg$^2$, non-Gaussianity in the noise (not included in our analysis) will likely be important and must be quantified to assess the biases. (iv) The morphological statistics (MF,PK) introduce important biases even for Gaussian noise, which must be corrected in large surveys. The biases are in different directions in $(\Omega_m,w,\sigma_8)$ parameter space, allowing self-calibration by combining multiple statistics. Our results warrant follow-up studies with more extensive lensing simulations and more accurate spurious shear estimates.

Formation of S0 galaxies through mergers. Bulge-disc structural coupling resulting from major mergers

Observations reveal a strong structural coupling between bulge and disc in S0 galaxies, which seems difficult to explain if they have formed from supposedly catastrophic events such as major mergers. We face this question by quantifying the bulge-disc coupling in dissipative simulations of major and minor mergers that result in realistic S0s. We have studied the dissipative N-body binary merger simulations from the GalMer database that give rise to realistic, relaxed E/S0 and S0 remnants (67 major and 29 minor mergers). We simulate surface brightness profiles of these S0-like remnants in the K-band, mimicking typical observational conditions, to perform bulge-disc decompositions analogous to those carried out in real S0s. The global bulge-disc structure of these remnants has been compared with real data, and they distribute in the B/T – r_e – h_d parameter space consistently with real bright S0s, where B/T is the bulge-to-total luminosity ratio, r_e is the bulge effective radius, and h_d is the disc scalelength. Major mergers can rebuild a bulge-disc coupling in the remnants after having destroyed the structures of the progenitors, whereas minor mergers directly preserve them. Remnants exhibit B/T and r_e/h_d spanning a wide range of values, and their distribution is consistent with observations. Many remnants have bulge Sersic indices ranging 1<n<2, flat appearance, and contain residual star formation in embedded discs, a result which agrees with the presence of pseudobulges in real S0s. Contrary to the popular view, mergers (and in particular, major events) can result in S0 remnants with realistically coupled bulge-disc structures in less than ~3 Gyr. In conclusion, the bulge-disc coupling and the presence of pseudobulges in real S0s cannot be used as an argument against the possible major-merger origin of these galaxies.

A short note on the curvature perturbation at second order [Cross-Listing]

Working with perturbations about an FLRW spacetime, we compute the gauge-invariant curvature perturbation to second order solely in terms of scalar field fluctuations. Using the curvature perturbation on uniform density hypersurfaces as our starting point, we give our results in terms of field fluctuations in the flat gauge, incorporating both large and small scale behaviour. For ease of future numerical implementation we give our result in terms of the scalar field fluctuations and their time derivatives.

A short note on the curvature perturbation at second order

Working with perturbations about an FLRW spacetime, we compute the gauge-invariant curvature perturbation to second order solely in terms of scalar field fluctuations. Using the curvature perturbation on uniform density hypersurfaces as our starting point, we give our results in terms of field fluctuations in the flat gauge, incorporating both large and small scale behaviour. For ease of future numerical implementation we give our result in terms of the scalar field fluctuations and their time derivatives.

Inflationary cosmology and the standard model Higgs with a small Hubble induced mass [Cross-Listing]

We study the dynamics of the standard model Higgs field in the inflationary cosmology. Since metastability of our vacuum is indicated by the current experimental data of the Higgs boson and top quark, inflation models with a large Hubble parameter may have a problem: Such models induce the fall of the Higgs field into the unwanted true vacuum due to the large fluctuation in the inflationary background. However, this problem can be relaxed by supposing an extra mass term for the Higgs field generated during and after inflation. We point out that it does not have to be larger than the Hubble parameter. We demonstrate that a high reheating temperature is favoured in such a relatively small mass case and it can be checked by future gravitational wave observations. Such an extra mass can be induced by, e.g., a direct coupling to the inflaton field or nonminimal coupling to gravity.

Inflationary cosmology and the standard model Higgs with a small Hubble induced mass [Cross-Listing]

We study the dynamics of the standard model Higgs field in the inflationary cosmology. Since metastability of our vacuum is indicated by the current experimental data of the Higgs boson and top quark, inflation models with a large Hubble parameter may have a problem: Such models induce the fall of the Higgs field into the unwanted true vacuum due to the large fluctuation in the inflationary background. However, this problem can be relaxed by supposing an extra mass term for the Higgs field generated during and after inflation. We point out that it does not have to be larger than the Hubble parameter. We demonstrate that a high reheating temperature is favoured in such a relatively small mass case and it can be checked by future gravitational wave observations. Such an extra mass can be induced by, e.g., a direct coupling to the inflaton field or nonminimal coupling to gravity.

Accuracy of cosmological parameters using the baryon acoustic scale

Percent-level measurements of the comoving baryon acoustic scale standard ruler can be used to break degeneracies in parameter constraints from the CMB alone. The sound horizon at the epoch of baryon drag is often used as a proxy for the scale of the peak in the matter density correlation function, and can conveniently be calculated quickly for different cosmological models. However, the measurements are not directly constraining this scale, but rather a measurement of the full correlation function, which depends on the detailed evolution through decoupling. We assess the level of reliability of parameter constraints based on a simple approximation of the acoustic scale compared to a more direct determination from the full numerical two-point correlation function. Using a five-parameter fitting technique similar to recent BAO data analyses, we find that for standard {\Lambda}CDM models and extensions with massive neutrinos and additional relativistic degrees of freedom, the approximation is at better than 0.15% for most parameter combinations varying over reasonable ranges, up to a worst case of about 0.4%.

Reionization of the Intergalactic Medium

After recombination the cosmic gas was left in a cold and neutral state. However, as the first stars and black holes formed within early galactic systems, their UV and X-ray radiation induced a gradual phase transition of the intergalactic gas into the warm and ionized state we currently observe. This process is known as cosmic reionization. Understanding how the energy deposition connected with galaxy and star formation shaped the properties of the intergalactic gas is one of the primary goals of present-day cosmology. In addition, reionization back reacts on galaxy evolution, determining many of the properties of the high-redshift galaxy population that represent the current frontier of our discovery of the cosmos. In these two Lectures we provide a pedagogical overview of cosmic reionization and intergalactic medium and of some of the open questions in these fields.

Degeneracy between primordial non-Gaussianity and interaction in the dark sector

If dark energy and dark matter interact via exchange of energy and momentum, then this may affect the galaxy power spectrum on large scales. When this happens, it may be degenerate with the signal from primordial non-Gaussianity via scale-dependent bias. We consider a class of interacting dark energy models and show that the matter overdensity is scale-dependent on large scales. We estimate the effective non-Gaussianity arising from the large-scale effects of interaction in the dark sector. The signal of dark sector interaction can be disentangled from a primordial non-Gaussian signal by measuring the power at two redshifts.

A New Approach to Cosmological Bulk Viscosity

We examine the cosmological consequences of an alternative to the standard expression for bulk viscosity, one which was proposed to avoid the propagation of superluminal signals without the necessity of extending the space of variables of the theory. The Friedmann equation is derived for this case, along with an expression for the effective pressure. We find solutions for the evolution of the density of a viscous component, which differs markedly from the case of conventional Eckart theory; our model evolves toward late-time phantom-like behavior with a future singularity. Entropy production is addressed, and some similarities and differences to approaches based on the Mueller-Israel-Stewart theory are discussed.

A New Approach to Cosmological Bulk Viscosity [Cross-Listing]

We examine the cosmological consequences of an alternative to the standard expression for bulk viscosity, one which was proposed to avoid the propagation of superluminal signals without the necessity of extending the space of variables of the theory. The Friedmann equation is derived for this case, along with an expression for the effective pressure. We find solutions for the evolution of the density of a viscous component, which differs markedly from the case of conventional Eckart theory; our model evolves toward late-time phantom-like behavior with a future singularity. Entropy production is addressed, and some similarities and differences to approaches based on the Mueller-Israel-Stewart theory are discussed.

Orthogonal BipoSH measures : Scrutinizing sources of isotropy violation

The two point correlation function of the CMB temperature anisotropies is generally assumed to be statistically isotropic (SI). Deviations from this assumption could be traced to physical or observational artefacts and systematic effects. Measurement of non-vanishing power in the BipoSH spectra is a standard statistical technique to search for isotropy violations. Although this is a neat tool allowing a blind search for SI violations in the CMB sky, it is not easy to discern the cause of isotropy violation using this measure. In this article, we propose a novel technique of constructing orthogonal BipoSH estimators, which can be used to discern between models of isotropy violation.

Orthogonal BipoSH measures : Scrutinizing sources of isotropy violation [Cross-Listing]

The two point correlation function of the CMB temperature anisotropies is generally assumed to be statistically isotropic (SI). Deviations from this assumption could be traced to physical or observational artefacts and systematic effects. Measurement of non-vanishing power in the BipoSH spectra is a standard statistical technique to search for isotropy violations. Although this is a neat tool allowing a blind search for SI violations in the CMB sky, it is not easy to discern the cause of isotropy violation using this measure. In this article, we propose a novel technique of constructing orthogonal BipoSH estimators, which can be used to discern between models of isotropy violation.

Stellar Mass Assembly of Brightest Cluster Galaxies at Late Times

Understanding the formation history of brightest cluster galaxies is an important topic in galaxy formation. Utilizing the Planck Sunyaev-Zel’dovich cluster catalog, and applying the Ansatz that the most massive halos at one redshift remain among the most massive ones at a slightly later cosmic epoch, we have constructed cluster samples at redshift z~0.4 and z~0.2 that can be statistically regarded as progenitor-descendant pairs. This allows us to study the stellar mass assembly history of BCGs in these massive clusters at late times, finding the degree of growth between the two epochs is likely at only few percent level, which is far lower compared to the prediction from a state-of-the-art semi-analytic galaxy formation model.

Defining Photometric Peculiar Type Ia Supernovae

We present a new photometric identification technique for SN 1991bg-like type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), i.e. objects with light-curve characteristics such as later primary maxima and absence of secondary peak in redder filters. This method is capable of selecting out this sub-group from the normal type Ia population. Furthermore, we find that recently identified peculiar sub-types such as SNe Iax and super-Chandrasekhar SNe Ia have similar photometric characteristics as 91bg-like SNe Ia, namely the absence of secondary maxima and shoulders at longer wavelengths, and can also be classified with our technique. The similarity of these different SN Ia sub-groups perhaps suggests common physical conditions. This typing methodology permits the photometric identification of peculiar SNe Ia in large up-coming wide field surveys either to study them further or to obtain a pure sample of normal SNe Ia for cosmological studies.

VLT/X-shooter spectroscopy of the afterglow of GRB 130606A: Chemical abundances and reionisation at $z\sim6$

The reionisation of the universe is thought to have ended around z~6, as inferred from spectroscopy of distant bright background sources such as quasars (QSO) and gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows. Furthermore, spectroscopy of a GRB afterglow provides insight in its host galaxy, which is often too dim and distant to study otherwise. We present the high S/N VLT/X-shooter spectrum of GRB130606A at z=5.913. We aim to measure the degree of ionisation of the IGM between 5.02<z<5.84, and to study the chemical abundance pattern and dust content of its host galaxy. We measure the flux decrement due to IGM absorption at Ly$\alpha$, $\beta$ and $\gamma$ wavelength regions. The hydrogen and metal absorption lines formed in the host galaxy are fitted with Voigt profiles to obtain column densities. Our measurements of the Ly$\alpha$-forest optical depth are consistent with previous measurements of QSOs, but have smaller uncertainty than these. The Ly$\alpha$ red-damping-wing analysis yields a neutral fraction $x_{HI}<0.03$ (3$\sigma$). We obtain column density measurements of several elements. The ionisation corrections due to the GRB is estimated to be negligible (<0.03 dex), but larger corrections may apply due to pre-existing radiation field (up to 0.3 dex based on sub-DLA studies). Our measurements confirm that the Universe is already predominantly ionised over the redshift range probed in this work, but was slightly more neutral at z>5.6. GRBs are useful probes of the IGM ionisation state of the early Universe, but because of internal scatter we need a larger statistical sample to draw robust conclusions. The high [Si/Fe] in the host can be due to dust depletion, alpha-element enhancement or a combination. The very high value of [Al/Fe]=2.40+/-0.78 might be connected to the stellar population history. We estimate the host metallicity to be -1.5<[M/H]<-1.2 (3%-6% of solar). [truncated]

Resolving the relative influence of strong field spacetime dynamics and MHD on circumbinary disk physics

In this paper we evolve magnetized and unmagnetized circumbinary accretion disks around supermassive black hole binaries in the relativistic regime. We use a post-Newtonian expansion to construct an analytical spacetime and determine how the order of the post-Newtonian (PN) expansion affects the dynamics of the gas. We find very small differences in the late-time bulk dynamics of non-magnetized hydrodynamic evolutions between the two spacetimes down to separations of approximately $40GM/c^2$ where $M$ is the total mass of the binary. For smaller separations, the differences due to PN-order become comparable to differences caused by using initial data further from equilibrium. For magnetized gas, MHD dynamics, which drives the accretion dynamics, tends to mask all higher order PN effects even at separations of $20GM/c^2$, leading to essentially the same observed electromagnetic luminosity. This implies that our calculations of the EM signal may be robust down to small binary separations. Our investigation is the first to demonstrate how the level of PN accuracy affects a circumbinary disk’s evolution and informs us of the range in separation within which to trust the PN approximation for this kind of study. We also address the influence the initial conditions and binary separation have on simulation predictions.

Resolving the relative influence of strong field spacetime dynamics and MHD on circumbinary disk physics [Cross-Listing]

In this paper we evolve magnetized and unmagnetized circumbinary accretion disks around supermassive black hole binaries in the relativistic regime. We use a post-Newtonian expansion to construct an analytical spacetime and determine how the order of the post-Newtonian (PN) expansion affects the dynamics of the gas. We find very small differences in the late-time bulk dynamics of non-magnetized hydrodynamic evolutions between the two spacetimes down to separations of approximately $40GM/c^2$ where $M$ is the total mass of the binary. For smaller separations, the differences due to PN-order become comparable to differences caused by using initial data further from equilibrium. For magnetized gas, MHD dynamics, which drives the accretion dynamics, tends to mask all higher order PN effects even at separations of $20GM/c^2$, leading to essentially the same observed electromagnetic luminosity. This implies that our calculations of the EM signal may be robust down to small binary separations. Our investigation is the first to demonstrate how the level of PN accuracy affects a circumbinary disk’s evolution and informs us of the range in separation within which to trust the PN approximation for this kind of study. We also address the influence the initial conditions and binary separation have on simulation predictions.

CMB Anisotropies from a Gradient Mode

A pure gradient mode must have no observable dynamical effect at linear level. We confirm this by showing that its contribution to the dipolar power asymmetry of CMB anisotropies vanishes, if Maldacena’s consistency condition is satisfied. To this end, the existing second order Sachs-Wolfe formula in the squeezed limit is extended to include a gradient in the long mode and to account for the change in the location of the last scattering surface induced by this mode. At second order, a gradient mode generated in Single-field inflation is shown to induce a quadrupole moment. For instance in a matter-dominated model it is equal to 5/18 times the square of the linear gradient part. This quadrupole can be cancelled by superposing a quadratic perturbation. The result is shown to be a non-linear extension of Weinberg’s adiabatic modes: a long-wavelength physical mode which looks locally like a coordinate transformation.

 

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