DES and the BAO Scale

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I just saw a press release about new results from the Dark Energy Survey relating to measurements of baryon acoustic oscillations. These are basically the residue of the oscillations seen in the power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature distribution imprinted on the galaxy distribution. They are somewhat less obvious that the primordial temperature fluctuations because the growth of structure produces a much larger background but they are measurable (and indeed are one of the things Euclid will measure).

Anyway, there is a very nice detailed description in the press release and you can find the preprint of the work in full on arXiv here, so I’ll just show the key figure:

The effective redshift of this measurement is about 0.85; in the CMB the redshift is about 1000. You can see that there is a characteristic scale but it is slightly offset from that predicted using the standard ΛCDM model based on the Planck determination of cosmological parameters. One has to be careful in interpreting this diagram because it is determined using autocorrelation functions; the errors on different bins are therefore correlated, not statistically independent. They are also, as you can see, quite large. Nonetheless, it’s a tantalizing result…

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